Asking Zandile Gumede to leave is not enough

The ANC wrongly put her in the Legislature and now must remove her, not leave her with the reward of a higher salary and suspension.

28/08/2020 13:51:17

Asking Zandile Gumede to leave is not enough

  

The KZN ANC should have the courage to fire Zandile Gumede, not just ask her to stand aside, says the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA).

Gumede has so far strongly resisted all attempts to hold her to account or remove her from positions of power. We do not expect her to do the right thing now.

Even if Gumede does “step aside”, OUTA Project Manager Tim Tyrrell says that removing her from official duties in the KZN Legislature while keeping her on the payroll of the same institution would be viewed by the public at large as the governing party placing its own internal politics above the needs of  South Africans.

The KZN ANC, at a press conference on Friday, said all members facing criminal charges must step down from their positions in both government and within the party structures with immediate effect. The party admitted that this decision was guided by the public outrage that followed the party’s appointment of Gumede to the KZN Legislature last week Wednesday.

“There is no doubt that this decision has been made because of the growing public outrage against the governing party and government’s perceived inability to deal with corruption within its own ranks.The people have the power, but it’s time to become more organised and firm in order to hold those chosen to represent and serve the people to account for their conduct.” says Tyrrell.

Tyrrell says the party could “easily” remove Gumede as a Member of the Provincial Legislature as this is a political appointment and therefore does not enjoy the same protections afforded to those employed in the private and public sector. 

“Gumede is facing criminal charges for her alleged role in defrauding eThekwini Metro residents in a R430-million tender racket. OUTA has maintained since her arrest in May 2019 that the criminal charges cast serious aspersions on her moral integrity and judgment, and until such time the criminal matter is finalised, she should not hold any position of authority in any government structure,” says Tyrrell.

Tyrrell says political leaders, through public pressure, are being forced to choose between standing with South African citizens tired of endemic corruption, serious public service inefficiencies, a struggling economy and high unemployment or party loyalty, cadre deployment and patronage.

“The governing party’s recent turnaround on Gumede, the release of all national and provincial Covid-19 tender awards and the publication of the Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee minutes have only occurred because of public pressure. It is only because of the work of civil society, brave whistle-blowers, journalists and active citizens that we are seeing a slow shift towards greater transparency and accountability,” says Tyrrell.

OUTA also calls on the ANC and national government to act decisively against various other leaders fingered in similar alleged criminal action in either the criminal justice system or various commissions investigating malfeasance in various government departments and entities.

Some of these people are: 

Tina Joemat-Pettersson, the Chairperson of the Police Committee in the National Assembly.

Bongani Bongo, the Chairperson of the Home Affairs Committee in the National Assembly.

Faith Muthambi, the Chairperson of the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Committee in the National Assembly.

Mosebenzi Zwane, the Chairperson of the Transport Committee in the National Assembly.

Cedric Frolick, the Chair of Portfolio Committee of Chairpersons.

ANC members and government leaders fingered in the VBS scandal as well as other ANC leaders such as Malusi Gigaba, Des van Rooyen, Nomvula Mokonyane and others who fill senior leadership positions within the ANC.  

Tyrrell says it is critically important that public pressure is maintained.

“We need to keep up the pressure in order to reach our goals of creating safe, affordable and clean communities across the country that are brimming with economic activity and serviced by a right-sized and capable civil service,” says Tyrrell.


See OUTA's statement of 20 August, criticising the ANC for promoting Gumede and giving her a pay increase with the MPL position, here.