The SACP in KwaZulu-Natal has called the appointment of corruption-accused Zandile Gumede to the provincial legislature “shocking and unfortunate” and has asked for a meeting with ANC leaders in the province, amid strained relations.
On Tuesday, the Communist Party held a media briefing after a special provincial executive committee (PEC) meeting. They have once again put pressure on the ANC in the province to rethink its decision to deploy Gumede to the provincial legislature.
“We expect the leadership of the ANC to be sensitive to the outcry on the deployment of Zandile Gumede,” provincial secretary Themba Mthembu said.
Gumede, who is out on R50,000 bail on corruption charges relating to a solid waste tender, became a member of the legislature last Wednesday amid much outrage and criticism.
While the SACP said its position on Gumede was not personal, the party recalled that Gumede’s political career has been marred by controversy and said her “flawed deployment is a matter of serious concern”.
“The matter of Zandile Gumede dates back from her days as a councillor in Ward 53 in eThekwini municipality. We must be reminded of the Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma Report which recommended the removal of Zandile Gumede after an objection of the community of the ward on the election of the councillor there.
“It was then followed by eThekwini conference fiasco which led to her deployment as eThekwini mayor and her subsequent demotion from being a mayor because of matters pertaining to underperformance,” Mthembu explained.
The SACP added that despite being part of the tripartite alliance, it was not “consulted” on the decision to redeploy Gumede.
“We wouldn’t be complaining this much if we were consulted. We were neither alerted nor consulted on this deployment. We were supposed to be consulted, we usually deploy and recall together. Unfortunately, we thought we were enjoying a good relationship with the ANC, therefore these acts paint a different picture,” said Mthembu.
Mthembu also warned that if controversial leaders who are facing graft accusations continued to be elevated in public service, the party would have a difficult time convincing South Africans to vote for it in next year’s local government elections.
“The president’s letter, you will pick up that if we are not attending to this unfortunate situation then we are in trouble as far as the local government,” he added.
Mthembu said the SACP does not want to see its relationship with the ANC deteriorating and will therefore raise its concerns in a meeting.