Durban – MORE than 1000 members of civil society and community organisations marched through the CBD to Durban City Hall on Friday, calling for eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede to step down.
This included members of the Active Citizens Movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo, the Market Users Committee, Bunye bamaHostela, the Poor Flat Dwellers Association, Right2Know KZN, Mayine, and the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance.
The spokesperson for Ubunye bama Hostela, Mazwenjabulo Ndwandwe, said: “We just need her to resign while she is being investigated. The mayor’s bail conditions were stated clearly by the Durban Special Commercial Crime Court.
“They say she must refrain from any involvement in the city operations. There are still unanswered questions that need investigation, all the way to the councillors. A serious corruption clean-up must be done in this council,”
The organisations said their common goal was to demand action from provincial and national government to intervene in the eThekwini Municipality for the people of the city. They also urged that whistle-blowers and witnesses who have spoken out against corruption and fraud must be protected.
“We have to make sure that our rights are being protected. We are telling the mayor that she must go. We cannot keep a leader who is able to steal from the poor,” said the deputy president of Abahlali baseMjondolo, Mqapheli Bonono.
“People are burning and dying in shacks; they don’t even have electricity. Funding for the toilets was allocated, but people still relieve themselves in the bushes because there are still no toilets.”
Bonono added that city hall had been “kidnapped by gangsters and mafias. Now we say Zandile Gumede and Mondli Mthembu must go. We cannot be led by criminals”.
Among the protesters, 75-year-old Trifina Zwane Ntuli, a former occupant at eNduduzweni Centre for the Disabled in uMlazi, joined the protest, despite being blind.
Using her cane to navigate her way, she said she had joined the march to voice her concerns.
“I am here to represent all the ‘victimised’ disabled individuals who were affected by the shutdown of the centre. They closed it and didn’t give us any money after so many years of service. We have families to feed. Now I only live off an old-age grant” said Ntuli.
The municipality has been given 14 days to respond to the joint memorandum handed over to the city, detailing their concerns.
While the march was taking place, a bus filled with ANC members arrived at the city hall to celebrate the life of the late former eThekwini chief whip Stanley Xulu.
It was reported during the week that a meeting took place between the ANC province and region last Sunday, where it was agreed the mayor would resign or take 30 days leave.
According to a source who did not want to be named, the mayor had been left a letter to that effect, which she had refused to sign.
Yesterday afternoon, ANC KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said such a meeting had taken place, but could not confirm that any requests had been presented to the mayor.
“The purpose of the meeting was to receive a report on the mayor’s case. The report will be submitted to higher structures,” she said.
The mayor and her supporters have rejected all allegations against her as political persecution.