‘Step-aside rule is killing the ANC,’ says Zandile Gumede – The Citizen

eThekwini ANC chairperson Zandile Gumede says the step-aside rule that applies to anyone facing criminal charges, is destroying the governing party.

Her slate made a clean sweep at the biggest ANC regional conference that was marred by delays over the weekend.

She received 210 votes, while her opponent, council speaker Thabani Nyawose managed to garner 181 votes.

Gumede’s slate, consisting of herself as chairperson, Themba Ntuli as her deputy, Musa Nciki as secretary-general, Nkosenhle Madlala as his deputy and Zoe Tshabalala as treasurer, was successfully elected on Sunday.

The former mayor was nominated and elected despite corruption charges hanging over her head. She is due to make another court appearance in July.

Her election has put to the test the ANC’s step-aside rule that many disgruntled members complain that it was being used selectively by the party top bras.

ALSO READ: Corruption-accused Zandile Gumede re-elected eThekwini chairperson

‘I made sure ANC in eThekwini doesn’t die’

Speaking to the SABC from her home in Durban election results were announced, Gumede said she was happy and emotional at the same time.

“It has been four years of struggling…today the truth has come out, thanks to branches of ANC. I am overwhelmed. I made sure eThekwini came first.”

Her biggest task, she said, would be to make sure that even those who didn’t elect her work together with her new leadership.

In a calm manner, Gumede said she had been doing party work, despite having stepped aside and not allowed to do so under ANC rules.

“We’ve been working with Thabani [Nyawose], we had no challenges…I have been on the ground even though I stepped aside. I’ve been making sure that the ANC in eThekwini doesn’t die,” she said.

Criminal charges

Gumede and her co-accused are alleged to have directly or indirectly received R2.8 million in kickbacks from service providers who won the irregular DSW tender awarded in 2017.

The payments all took place while Gumede was still mayor, and were not disclosed to the municipality as required by law.

She is also accused of using her political status to influence the appointment of senior eThekwini personnel responsible for supply-chain management, as well as legal matters and human resources.

She has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

READ MORE: ANC’s inconsistency on step aside rule denotes incompetence

‘Step-aside is killing the ANC’

The former mayor said she wouldn’t wish the step-aside policy on any one, as it is difficult and a ” painful exercise.”

She said she agreed to step-aside after she was asked by KwaZulu-Natal leadership to do so. She complied as a law-abiding citizen, she added.

“It is not gonna be long, I am gonna be off the hook and together with the collective, I’ll be working hard for the people of eThekwini. The ANC constitution and that of the ANC states clearly that a person is innocent until he or she is found guilty.

“You should not be penalised until court finds you guilty, I don’t think this step-aside is a good exercise, but because it affects me directly, I think the ANC branches can discuss it in December, they have already started talking about it because it’s really killing our movement.”

NOW READ: ANC eThekwini: No sitting as disputes continue to cloud conference

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