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Zikalala: Gumede appointment to KZN legislature not the best decision

Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede was sworn in this week as a member of the provincial legislature (MPL) despite facing charges of fraud and corruption linked to tender fraud in the municipality.

Zandile Gumede (left) is sworn in as a member of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature on 19 August 2020. KZN Legislature Speaker Nontembeko Boyce looks on. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - Kwazulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala on Friday conceded that the appointment of former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede to the provincial legislature was not the best decision.

“We acknowledge that it is a situation that is quite difficult to manage. It is solving one problem with another problem because you remove her from the city, from being an ordinary councillor, and others will think that you are promoting her,” Zikalala said.

The premier made the remarks during a virtual briefing with the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) and journalists.

To the shock and dismay of many, Gumede was sworn in this week as a member of the provincial legislature (MPL) after Ricardo Mthembu passed away.

This is despite Gumede facing charges of fraud and corruption linked to tender fraud in the municipality. She was released on R50,000 bail.

Zikalala said that Gumede’s deployment as an MPL was necessitated by the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) appointment policies.

“The question we had as the ANC was that the IEC said: ‘Should we take the next person [on the list] or not?’. On the other side, we’ve got an untenable situation in the municipality. And that’s what then compelled us to have this balance,” he said.

Zikalala said that the ANC was yet to make a final resolution on how members who are charged with corruption should be treated when it came to appointments.

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