DA questions Zandile Gumede’s whereabouts after another council meeting no-show

The ANC in KZN says it has not received reports that Gumede has not been attending council meetings, and suggested the DA write to the Speaker about the matter.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal has questioned the whereabouts of former eThekwini mayor, Zandile Gumede, after she was “again absent” from the council meeting on Thursday, the last for the year.

The party noted that Gumede remains an ordinary member of the council,  despite being removed by the ANC from the position of mayor and being replaced by Mxolisi Kaunda in September.

The DA’s Chief Whip in the eThekwini council, Thabani Mthethwa, claimed that Gumede has not attended a council meeting since the beginning of September, “when she arrived late to elect her successor”.

“Our research also indicates that Gumede is not a member of any council committee, and [as] such is not attending any other committee meetings. She continues to earn a salary from the municipal coffers despite not doing any work as a councillor and facing serious criminal charges,” Mthethwa said.

Gumede is out on bail after she was arrested earlier this year in connection with a R208 million Durban Solid Waste (DSW) tender scandal.

The Hawks announced on Wednesday that they had arrested 15 more people, including eThekwini Municipality councillors, municipal officials, and community-based contractors, in connection with the scandal.

ALSO READ: DA calls for more arrests in tender scandal allegedly implicating Zandile Gumede

Mthethwa said two of the four ANC councillors arrested on Wednesday “submitted leave under the guise of ‘personal commitments’”.

Mthethwa said the two councillors are AN Shabalala and NE Mthembu.

“The other two – GT De Lange and MS Nyawose – did not [submit] any leave. All four are out on bail for fraud, allegedly related to the same DSW matter as Gumede,” Mthethwa said.

The spokesperson of the ANC in the province, Ricardo Mthembu, said the party has not received reports that Gumede has not been attending council since September.

Mthembu said if the DA has a complaint about such, it should write to the council Speaker, Weziwe Thusi, who will make a decision on the matter being guided by the municipality’s rules and regulations pertaining to such issues.

Mthethwa said the DA forced Thusi to call a vote on granting the leave in terms of the Rules of Order, and subsequently voted against granting the leave.

“The DA will continue the fight to ensure that the 62 Councillors mentioned as having worked with Gumede, Gumede herself and her co-accused face the might of the law. The eThekwini council and Speaker must act against these councillors and haul them before the Ethics Committee.

“It cannot be business as usual when councillors accused of serious corruption can continue to earn municipal money but do no work.

“The corrupt 62 must be named, charged and fired,” Mthethwa said.

Mthembu said the ANC in the province believes in the presumption of innocence, and so cannot take action against its councillors until investigations and court processes have been finalised.

He said the party, however, will not “hesitate” to take action against its councillors if the outcome of the case compels it to do so.

The ANC in the province will follow the matter closely, Mthembu said, adding that the party supports the work being done by the police, and that it hopes the matter is speedily concluded.

ALSO READ: eThekwini officials arrested in tender scandal allegedly implicating Zandile Gumede

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