IOL - POLITICS / 15 JANUARY 2020 - 16.04 / SIHLE MAVUSO
Durban - An unrepentant former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede told her supporters that when she took over office in 2016, she emulated former president Jacob Zuma and implemented radical economic transformation (RET) policies.
Gumede then implied that her troubles with the law stem from that fact that she fought for black people to have a share in the country’s wealth and was pushed out. She said this on Wednesday while addressing her supporters outside the Durban magistrate court where had appeared to answer on corruption charges.
Speaking in Zulu before a crowd of about 1000 supporters clad in ANC regalia, she lamented that it has been “a year” since she was arrested, but the state is yet to proceed to trial and clearly spell out the charges against her. “We are from that court… a year later and there are no charges. But comrades, I want us to wait and not get angry. Remember that when I started my speech I said everything happens for a reason. God and the ancestors of the ANC want to prove something and in the end, you will get to know about it,” she told her supporters. She then lamented the arrest, saying during her three year tenure as the mayor of eThekwini, she had no executive powers as mayor. She asked why those authorised to sign off tenders were not arrested with them.
However, she said she was grateful that those who were "behind the charges" decided to elbow her out of office by charging them instead of killing them. It was from there where she said while she was the mayor she fought for economic empowerment of black as envisaged, first in the freedom charter of the ANC in 1955 and later as RET policy by the ruling party in 2017. “Once you start fighting for a black person to at least get crumbs (of the country’s wealth), you are gone in South Africa. The economy should be controlled by a certain group but not black people.
When I took over as the mayor of this metro, I followed in the footsteps of the former president (Zuma) by implementing the freedom charter that people shall have plenty, I fulfilled the pledge that the economy should be on the hands of the people and did the right thing by forming a structure called radical transformation,” she claimed.Gumede added that ever since she was removed from office, officials who worked with her team to implement RET policies are being persecuted through suspensions and arrests.
Taking a minor jab at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Gumede said the unit is not clear why it even charged. At some point, while addressing her supporters, she indirectly revealed that the case is taking a toll on her and she said: “I am just showing a brave face.”Towards the end of her address, Gumede who was supported by the likes of Jacob Zuma’s relative, Thobani Zuma, the former deputy mayor of Msunduzi (Pietermaritzburg) likened the ANC to a burning house. She said those inside want to get out, while those outside want to get in because they are not aware of what is happening inside.
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