Embattled African National Congress (ANC) Member of the provincial legislature in KwaZulu-Natal Zandile Gumede will continue to receive her salary while she waits to appear before the party’s Integrity Commission.
Gumede and the ANC’s Deputy Provincial Chair Mike Mabuyakhulu have been asked to step aside from their positions both in the party and in government, while their corruption cases remain pending.
Gumede was sworn-in as a member of the provincial legislature last week and while Mabuyakhulu was not deployed in government after the 2019 elections, he has been serving as the party’s deputy provincial chairperson in the province.
“The provincial officials had a discussion with our provincial Deputy Chair Comrade Michael Mabuyakhulu and Comrade Zandile Gumede, who unfortunately both of them are facing what the conference has defined as a prosecutorial procedure. The primary objective of this political discussion was to ascertain the contribution of these comrades to understand the situation in relation to their on-going cases, but also to gain an understanding on their part on how best, in their respective opinions, the movement, which they belong to, can be insulated from the challenges they face in order to safeguard its integrity standing in society,” says KZN ANC Provincial secretary Ndumiseni Ntuli.
Public outcry over Gumede
The briefing by the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal comes as the party starts its special three-day NEC meeting in Pretoria to discuss corruption.
Just days after Gumede was sworn into the provincial legislature, the ANC in the province has somewhat changed its tune, asking her to step aside temporarily.
The party says the decision comes after immense public outcry over Gumede’s redeployment. The party’s Provincial Chairperson Sihle Zikalala says the ANC politically made a decision.
“And in this case, we are saying, as the ANC, yes, politically there was a decision taken and we have implemented it and there is a response from the society and we must show that we are listening to the society too, while we don’t undermine the rights of the comrades who are affected. That is why we are saying (we) are taking the matter to the Integrity Commission.”
Both Gumede and Mabuyakhulu will now recuse themselves from participating in party activities, and Gumede will step aside from her duties as a member of the provincial legislature.
But Zikalala says she will continue to receive her more than a million rand salary at this time.
“In case you have a suspension in the industry you are working in, what happens? You get suspended and suspended with pay. In our case, we are saying these comrades will not resign but are stepping down, but we would want to see the Integrity Commission working on this case with speed. We know that the next cry is about paying people who are not at work. So, we are going to ensure that the matter is expedited.”
The party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) in the province says similar methods of recourse will also apply to other leaders who are facing charges in court. The affected members will not be permitted to contest for positions during conferences until they are cleared by the party’s Integrity Commission.
Meanwhile, the ANC in the province says the national leadership has long been aware of the planned decision to redeploy Gumede to the Provincial Legislature.
ANC KZN briefing ahead of party’s National Executive Council meeting this weekend:
DA KZN slams ANC’s decision on Gumede
Democratic Alliance (DA) leader in KwaZulu-Natal Zwakele Mncwango has slammed the ANC’s decision in the province that Gumede step aside on full pay from her position at the legislature pending a probe by the ANC’s Integrity Commission.
Mncwango says the decision by the ANC in the province to request that Gumede simply step aside is an insult to the people of KwaZulu-Natal.
“Basically, Zandile Gumede will be getting paid every month from doing nothing. She is actually on holiday where she’s getting paid. There is no legislation providing that a member from legislature can be suspended or step aside by the political party because once you become the member of legislature you are employed by the institution, not the political party.”
IFP says ANC should recall Gumede from legislature
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in KwaZulu-Natal says the ANC should have recalled embattled Gumede from the provincial legislature if they were serious about the public outcry over her re-deployment. The IFP has slammed the ANC’s announcement that Gumede will step aside and maintain her salary pending a probe by the ANC’s Integrity Commission.
IFP Provincial Chairperson, Thamsanqa Ntuli, says, “We don’t support the leave that has been given to the Honourable Zandile Gumede due to the fact that she is facing a massive cloud of corruption charges. The move to give her a leave does not respond to the call by the voters of KZN. We, as the IFP, do not support this gesture.”
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