As rumours swirled that she has been fired as eThekwini mayor, Zandile Gumede said on Monday night that she hadn’t heard a word about the decision. Citing “three independent and reliable sources”, eNCA reported that Gumede was going to be removed from the powerful post in the wake of being charged over a R208m tender scandal.
Attempts to contact multiple ANC sources – including two communications officials and KwaZulu-Natal chairman Sihle Zikalala – to confirm the reports were unsuccessful on Monday. Contacted for comment, Gumede said: “For now I am in church. I have not heard anything. Maybe if you can contact me tomorrow I would have heard something.
Gumede’s reported axing follows the party’s provincial working committee (PWC) recommendation, presented at last week’s provincial executive committee (PEC) meeting, that she be recalled following an assessment that she was not fit to hold office.
Gumede, who has been on suspension since June, is currently out on R50,000 bail. She has been earning a salary of R115,000 per month while suspended. She is facing charges of racketeering, corruption and money laundering related to an allegedly dodgy R208m Durban Solid Waste tender, awarded in 2016.
The mayor has been accused of using her political position to influence the contract.
On Thursday last week, Gumede and eight of her co-accused, which includes eThekwini deputy speaker Mondli Mthembu, appeared in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court. The court heard that the state needed four more months to complete its investigations – and that more arrests were imminent. The case was postponed to January.
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