Embattled Zandile Gumede has blamed mainstream media and sexism for “denting” her name.
Speaking for the first time since being sworn in as a member of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature (MPL) on Wednesday, Gumede told eNCA that her redeployment was not a reward, as opposition parties had alluded.
Gumede’s appointment received major criticism as her fraud and corruption case is still being heard before court.
“It’s not a reward, it’s a continuation of working for the community because they know how hard I can work. There’s no reward, it’s just to open another door for me to continue working for the people,” Gumede said.
Gumede said her removal by the ANC as the former mayor of eThekwini was unjustified.
She said her leadership in the metro was very “clear” but the media was denting her name because of sexism.
“Leadership was very clear. It was because of you, as the media, went all out to make sure that as the first woman mayor of eThekwini, you are denting my name. And also as the first chairperson from the ANC, you are denting my name,” said Gumede.
“The narrative that the media is trying to make is to say that women can’t make it. I’ve made sure that people can see that women can make things happen.”
Gumede was removed by the ANC KZN from the mayoral seat after a R430m corruption case against her and her 17 co-accused surfaced.
She appeared in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court in July on charges linked to the tender fraud case dating back to 2016.
The case against her and several co-accused was again postponed to September.
TimesLIVE reported that the provincial party defended Gumede’s appointment, saying she was “innocent until proven guilty”.
Gumede is taking over from Ricardo Mthembu, who died of Covid-19 complications in July.
“The ANC KZN is fully aware of detractors who will seek to use Gumede’s ongoing court case to criticise the appointment. However, we subscribe to the notion of innocent until proven guilty, as enshrined in our justice system,” said the party.
“As such, there is nothing untoward about the appointment of Gumede. As a firm believer in women empowerment, the ANC KZN is confident that Gumede, with her experience, is a worthwhile addition to the legislature.”
By Unathi Nkanjeni – TimesLIVE