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ANC warned of revolt as members could defy ‘vague’ step-aside resolution – analyst

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Political analyst Xolani Dube says the ANC’s step-aside resolution has been drafted in such a way that it is not enforceable.

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AS THE ruling party continues to battle the fallout of a resolution that compels members who have been criminally charged to step aside, it has been warned that there could be a revolt when the members have to leave their positions.

Xolani Dube, a political analyst from the Xubera Institute for Research and Development, says the resolution has been drafted in such a way that it is not enforceable.

Dube’s warning comes as on Monday the supporters of corruption-indicted Zandile Gumede, the former eThekwini mayor and KwaZulu-Natal Legislature MPL, told her to stay put.

They said Gumede had suffered enough and had been cleared by the KZN provincial integrity commission to resume her party duties.

Gumede and 20 others are facing corruption, money-laundering and fraud charges emanating from a waste contract of R320 million in 2017. At the time of the alleged corruption, Gumede was the mayor of eThekwini. The State alleges that she and several of her family members accepted bribes from some of the service providers. Gumede and her supporters deny the charges.

The case had been set for trial in the Durban High Court in June this year and the supporters expect her to win the case.

Dube said the open defiance by Gumede’s supporters should be treated as a warning of the potential chaos that could unfold when members have to step aside on April 30 this year.

“There is a disagreement over the step-aside resolution and other resolutions of the party. So, this is not going to happen at all and the ANC would be forced to shelve this once again. No one is going to go, that is the bottom line. The step-aside resolution is vague just like many other resolutions of the ruling party,” Dube said.

While it is unclear is whether Gumede’s name is one of the 13 submitted to Luthuli House (ANC national headquarters) by Mdumiseni Ntuli, the KZN ANC provincial secretary, her supporters have said that asking her to step aside would be wrong.

Speaking to Independent Media, the spokesperson of the supporters, Ntando Khuzwayo (a pro-Gumede councillor in eThekwini Municipality), gave 13 reasons why she should not step aside.

Among them was that the ANC in the province acted in a factional manner and victimised her before eventually firing her as mayor in August 2019.

“After her appointment to the Legislature, she was immediately asked to step aside for the third time and was subjected to a provincial integrity commission process which later cleared her. She returned to the Legislature and now, in 2021, the ANC has submitted her name for the fourth round of step aside.

“In its statement, the PEC (provincial executive committee) acknowledged that the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) was wrong to arrest Zandile Gumede and later charge her,” Khuzwayo said.

Furthermore, Khuzwayo said the objectives of the step-aside resolution were not clear and the resolution itself should be subjected to the scrutiny of the pending national general council (NGC).

“Zandile Gumede should never allow another fourth wave of ’step aside’ until the ANC decides what exactly it seeks to implement. Like other resolutions, this one must be taken to the NGC for reaffirmation with guidelines. She cannot be charged under Rule 25 while she is attending court. The ANC must not allow itself to use rules for factional ends, it must use the rules to promote unity.”

Khuzwayo added that their proposal to the ruling party was that the ANC should act against Gumede only if she was found guilty.

“Should she be found guilty, the ANC can then ask her to step aside if she has no appetite to appeal.”

ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe had no comment when asked about the exact number of names that had been submitted by provinces and those expected to step aside at the end of the month.

Political Bureau