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Push to have Mandla Msibi and Zandile Gumede vacate ANC positions thwarted

ANC NWC meeting split over whether re-elected leaders affected by step-aside rule should continue in their positions

Zandile Gumede is regional chairperson of the ANC in eThekwini despite being charged with serious crimes and will stay in the position for now. File photo.
Zandile Gumede is regional chairperson of the ANC in eThekwini despite being charged with serious crimes and will stay in the position for now. File photo.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

ANC leaders who were elected despite facing criminal charges will stay in their positions for now. This is according to senior party leaders who attended Monday’s national working committee (NWC) meeting of the governing party. 

The ANC NWC arguments were centred on whether eThekwini regional chairperson Zandile Gumede and Mpumalanga provincial treasurer Mandla Msibi will keep their jobs after the party’s amendment of its step-aside rules.

This follows a national executive committee decision that criminally charged leaders who have been made to step aside from their positions by the ANC will be barred from contesting leadership positions in the party.  

But the amended guidelines were instituted only after the re-election of corruption-accused Gumede and murder-accused Msibi, leading to some in the party calling for a retrospective approach.

The Sunday Times last week reported that ANC boss Cyril Ramaphosa's backers would argue for Gumede to resign.

Insiders told TimesLIVE the proposal was “rejected” overwhelmingly. 

“There was a push to have Zandile in eThekwini resign from her position. They say her election as chair is harming the image of the ANC,” said one insider. 

The “retrospective approach” offensive was advocated by three senior leaders of the ANC aligned to Ramaphosa's camp.

However, it was allegedly “defeated”, according to sources who attended the heated meeting.

Those who know what unfolded in the meeting said Gumede and Msibi backers called for consistency in applying the rules “because those conferences took place and [now] they are gone”.

This while the office of the secretary-general is said to have also explained that Gumede and Msibi had followed the step-aside rule in any event, thus there was no need for them to resign.   

It is unclear if there was any finality to the matter but another ANC NWC member who was present at the meeting said it should now be up to the branches of the ANC, via the  national policy and elective conferences, to refine the thorny step-aside question. 

“As I said last week, there is no rush. The national conference is around the corner to deliberate on this. Comrade Zandile and comrade Msibi stepped aside, so this thing of harming the organisation’s brand is just a way for some among us to deal with political adversaries,” another NWC member said.

“This thing should not even have been raised at NWC. It was a waste of time because they [Gumede and Msibi] had already stepped aside.”



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