ANC supporters. Picture: REUTERS
ANC supporters. Picture: REUTERS

Thousands of disgruntled ANC members in the Moses Mabhida region protested in Pietermaritzburg on Monday, calling for the removal of the regional executive.

The protest followed a dramatic weekend in Durban where supporters of fired eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede disrupted an ANC meeting convened to discuss who will replace her as the mayor.

On Sunday, some ANC branches, the youth league and party leaders in eThekwini came out in support of the party’s provincial executive committee’s decision to fire Gumede and Msundunzi municipality mayor Thembe Njilo and their entire executives.

Gumede is on R50,000 bail after she was arrested three months ago with eight others in connection with the awarding of a R208m tender in 2016.

The once financially healthy Msunduzi municipality was brought to its knees and put under administration during Njilo’s leadership. The municipality is barely able to pay salaries amidst allegations of maladministration and corruption.

On Monday disgruntled members — some carrying posters in support of Gumede and Njilo and denouncing ANC provincial chairperson, KZN premier Sihle Zikalala and President Cyril Ramaphosa, filled the street on which the Moses Mabhida region offices are located. They demanded the disbanding of the regional task team and replacing it with a “nonfactional and credible” task team that will prepare the region for the elective conference.

The regional executive committee was disbanded last September and was replaced by the task team. Protesters said that when they confronted the provincial executive committee about the task team, they were persuaded to allow it to oversee the campaign ahead of the May 8 general election.

One of the protesters, Sthembiso Nkuna, said their pleas were ignored by the provincial executive committee, forcing them to go to the streets.

“We are here to again remind our leadership we have been trying to reach out to them since they disbanded the regional executive and appointed this task team.

“The term of office of this task team was supposed to have come to an end in last November, but they persuaded us that we must allow it to conduct the campaign,” Nkuna said.

“After the elections we have been writing to them but they have been ignoring us. This is a new culture of the ANC where memorandums from the ANC branches are not attended to,” he said.

He claimed the marchers represented the majority of the 86 branches that are in good standing in the Moses Mabhida ANC region.

Gumede’s supporters are also demanding that the recently appointed eThekwini ANC regional task team be disbanded with immediate effect and fresh elections held.

Political analyst Zakhele Ndlovu says the trends of marches, mistrust and enmity within ANC structures in KZN are clear signs that the cases against Gumede and her ouster were having a huge impact on the party.

“For me it suggests that Gumede has some kind of influence. You must also remember that in the ANC there is this factionalism which has been going on which the party has totally failed to manage,” he said.