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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

Zandile Gumede snubs deputy mayor

The eThekwini mayor instead appointed councillor Mondli Mthembu as the acting mayor while she is abroad.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for co-operative governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube has been asked to investigate misconduct charges against eThekwini mayor, Zandile Gumede and Speaker William Mapena.

The furore began after Gumede bypassed her deputy, Pawiza Peer and appointed another councillor Mondli Mthembu as acting mayor while the mayor went abroad. Before she left, Gumede asked Mthembu to stand in for her instead of deputy mayor, Fawia Peer, who is also an ANC councillor.

In a letter Gumede wrote to Mthembu dated March 10, 2017, she said:  “I hereby appoint you acting mayor with authority to perform all functions of my office from March 12, 2017 to March 17, 2017 as I will be in New York, United State on municipal business.”

The DA strongly objected to Gumede’s decision and attributed her move to infighting within the ANC.

“The DA is well aware that the reason behind Gumede’s snubbing of her deputy, Fawia Peer, is because Peer belongs to another ANC faction and lacks trust towards her. Once again, the ANC’s factional politics is rearing its ugly head in the running of government and now resulting in unlawful acts,” said DA KwaZulu-Natal leader Zwakele Mncwango.

Mncwango said Gumede’s move undermined the Local Government Municipal Structures Act section 49 (2) that stated that “the deputy mayor exercises the powers and performs the duties of the mayor if the mayor is absent or not available or if the office of the mayor is vacant. The mayor may delegate duties to the deputy mayor.”

The DA councillor accused Council speaker, William Mapena of being dishonest and breaching the code of conduct for councillors when she told the executive council that Gumede had appointed Mthembu to act only if Peer wasn’t around.

Mcwango showed a letter in which the mayor appointed Mthembu to perform all mayoral duties from March 12 to 17 while she was abroad.

Mncwango said the DA would write to Nomusa Dube-Ncube to ask for the reversal of Mthembu’s appointment with immediate effect.

He said any action that Mthembu took as acting mayor would be unlawful.

Mncwango also want Dube-Ncube to investigate misconduct against Mapena for allegedly misleading the executive council when he said Gumede wanted Mthembu to act only if Peer was absent, which was not the case.

He said Peer was present and the law only required that the deputy mayor must act in the mayor’s absence.

The mayor’s office could not be reached for comment.

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