‘You Can’t Suppress Me Because I’m A Women’ – Recalled eThekwini Mayor Gumede Demands Answers From ANC

Riyaz Patel

Ousted eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede says she will appeal her removal as the political head of the municipality, claiming she’s being persecuted by the ANC because she is a woman.

Gumede said she would be writing to the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to demand how she had been branded “incompetent,” News24 reported.

“I’m a leader internationally. I have accolades, they must prove how and why.”

Recalled eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede

“It’s important that I do that… They [NEC] must say why they call me incompetent,” she said.

Gumede was suspended and subsequently fired from her mayoral position following a two-day special meeting of the ANC’s provincial executive committee (PEC).

Provincial ANC Secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli said Gumede will be redeployed.

Ntuli said the Provincial Working Committee (PWC), which compiled a report on local governance in KwaZulu-Natal, had raised complaints from residents about issues such as water provisions, water infrastructure, refuse removal, and allegations of fraud and corruption.

Gumede was placed on special leave in June, after she was arrested on charges of fraud and corruption related to a multi-million rand Durban Solid Waste tender.

“I’m being shut down not to do my oversight. I’m not going to allow that. I’m not going to be taking that lying down. I’ll be using real instruments of my organisation. You can’t suppress me because I’m a women. Enough is enough,” Gumede reportedly told the online news platform.

Dlamini-Zuma added that the majority of the irregular expenditure was a result of non-compliance with supply chain regulations.

She contends that during her tenure as eThekwini mayor, council had run smoothly.

She also questioned the PWC’s report on her fitness, saying that it did not coincide with reports by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), which had said “nothing about me being corrupt.”

While in the province last week, however, Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma noted the Auditor-General’s report which found that reasonable steps were not taken to prevent irregular expenditure of R731m in the Metro’s last financial year.

Gumede maintained her innocence, claiming she was being persecuted by her party because she was a woman.

She said her male counterparts, who had court processes pending against them, had remained in their positions.

“I still maintain that the ANC must wait for the case to go on and my name needs to be cleared. Redeployment is done at times in the ANC because ANC does not owe you anything but, on this one, it goes with my dignity and history, the former eThekwini Mayor said.

Her charge of patriarchy in the organisation was echoed by ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini Tuesday night during a dialogue with President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Dlamini lashed out at the party over a culture of “removing women from positions of power.”

Gumede said: “I’m standing for women of South Africa, black and white. Our power cannot be cut down like a tree. It can’t be right that my organisation cannot follow proper protocol. Everyone must be subjected to proper processes.”

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