Fired eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede. Picture: THE TIMES/THULI DLAMINI
Fired eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede. Picture: THE TIMES/THULI DLAMINI

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has fired controversial eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede following sustained calls for her removal and an assessment that she is unfit to hold office.

On Tuesday, ANC provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli told a media briefing in Durban that the ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) has decided that all ANC members serving in the executive committees of eThekwini and Msunduzi municipalities should, with immediate effect, “be redeployed”.

“The PEC mandated the ANC provincial working committee (PWC) to ensure that all vacancies occasioned by this decision are filled within the next seven days,” said Ntuli.

Gumede’s axing comes after the PEC held a two-day meeting that ended on Monday, to look into the state of local government and a discussion document on “revolutionary morality, ethics and integrity in leadership”, Ntuli told Business Day earlier on Tuesday.

It also followed the ANC’s PWC’s recent recommendation to the PEC that Gumede be recalled as she is not fit to hold office.

A key ally of former president Jacob Zuma, Gumede was suspended in June after charges of racketeering, corruption and money laundering were leveled against her and other officials. The charges related to the city’s solid waste contract of more than R200m, in which Gumede was accused of using her political influence.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has been rocked by leadership disputes, factional infighting and political assassinations. However, ANC provincial chair and premier Sihle Zikalala has been credited for bringing a truce between the warring factions and rallying the province behind President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Zikalala has been driving Ramaphosa’s reform agenda in the province, which is the ANC’s biggest in terms of membership, in striving for a clean, efficient and corruption-free provincial government.

At the time of her suspension, Gumede was out on R50,000 bail and earning R115,000 per month.

The Sunday Times reported that Gumede and eight of her co-accused, which includes eThekwini deputy speaker Mondli Mthembu, appeared in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court on Thursday. The court heard that the state needed four more months to complete its investigations — and that more arrests are imminent. The case was postponed to January 2020.