It’s been a busy day in eThekwini, as the serving Mayor Zandile Gumede was marched into court to face the music. The ANC official has been slapped with multiple charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering on Tuesday, all of which relate to her three years as head of the municipality.
As Gumede posted her R50 000 bail, attention soon turned to the question of “what will happen next”. A mayor in handcuffs isn’t a good look for any city, so we thought we’d get in touch with DA Councillor Nicole Graham for a little more clarity – Graham represents the opposition party in eThekwini, but she’s not convinced the mayor can be moved.
Will Zandile Gumede leave her role as eThekwini mayor?
As Graham explains, the Durban municipality doesn’t function like other metros. Rather than having a Mayoral Committee System, they have an Executive Committee System. Unfortunately for the DA and other parties, this rules out the potential of invoking a vote of no confidence against Zandile Gumede.
However, the governing ANC would still have the power to remove her from office – yet all the noises coming from her party seem to suggest this won’t happen, either. They have insisted that Gumede must be allowed to “clear her name”, and she will not be told to stand down by her peers.
What opposition parties can do about it
It’s highly unlikely she will be recalled or suspended between now and the resumption of her court case in August. Graham admits its an “oversight in legislation” that opposition parties cannot canvas support for a no-confidence vote, but she promised that the DA would do “everything they could” to make life difficult for Zandile Gumede:
“Mayor Gumede has proved to be someone with little regard for the rules. Here’s what we plan to do: As the DA, we are studying the report into her corrupt contract with Durban Waste Services. It is now our job to ensure all charges are effectively laid against her, and we’ll be monitoring the case closely.”
Zandile Gumede will only leave office if…
So as it stands, everyone’s hands remain tied – unless the ANC reconsider their position once the court case is underway, or if Gumede is sentenced to a stint behind bars. Failing that, she could realistically win her court case and remain in power until 2021 at the earliest, when the municipal elections roll around again.