The ANC’s lack of clarity around its guidelines on the step aside resolution have pitted former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede against her political opponents who claim she can’t stand for elections while facing corruption charges.
Gumede and her supporters are adamant that despite her being affected by the resolution and restricted from attending party gatherings and addressing members, she would be nominated and later reclaim her position as eThekwini regional chairperson.
On Sunday, Ntando Khuzwayo a councillor in the eThekwini municipality, who also speaks on behalf of Gumede’s supporters, said it was a given that they would field the former mayor when the elective conference convened.
Gumede was recently forced by the ANC to step aside because she is facing fraud, corruption and money laundering charges emanating from a waste tender worth R320 million which was issued by the eThekwini municipality while she was mayor.
The date for the regional conference is not yet known and plans to hold it by June 30 as instructed by acting secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, has been put on hold after the country was moved to level 2 of the Covid-19 pandemic management mechanism.
About their determination to field and eventually re-elect Gumede, Khuzwayo said even provincial secretary, Mdumiseni Ntuli, recently clarified that members affected by the step aside (policy) could be elected in absentia but could not come to address the conference even after they had been elected.
“It has been a norm to nominate and elect a person in absentia. Let me give you a good example, our immediate past regional treasurer, Barbara Fontein, was elected in absentia. So we will re-elect Gumede as changing our plans around her would be folly because ANC branches want her back as regional chairperson,” Khuzwayo said.
Ntuli was contacted regarding Khuzwayo’s claims on the step aside issue but did not respond.
Gumede on the other hand told Independent Media yesterday that if nominated, she would yield to the wishes of the branches and stand.
“If I am nominated by ANC branches (in eThekwini) to stand, I will do so. That’s all I can say about that matter,” Gumede said.
Despite the former mayor being confident that they will win the conference when it convenes, Gumede’s opponents said the final arbiter on the matter would be the actual conference.
Thabani Nyawose, the man leading the slate opposed to Gumede said they would eventually dislodge Gumede and her slate, saying she was mistaken to think she could stand for elections while facing charges and on the sidelines because of the step aside resolution.
“Yes, a member can be nominated while facing charges because the understanding is that the charges could be withdrawn or the accused wins in court. However, should a candidate still be facing charges on the day the conference convenes, they cannot be nominated or elected,” Nyawose claimed.
Nyawose further said there was confusion around the step aside guidelines, it would be helpful if the ANC NEC (national executive committee) provided urgent clarity.