- The former Durban mayor, Zandile Gumede, has ruffled feathers by attending SONA
- She is currently out on bail and is facing criminal charges related to a tender in Durban
- She flew 1st class to the event
Briefly.co.za learned that the former Durban Mayor Zandile Gumede has been blasted for flying 1st class to attend the annual State of the Nation Adress (SONA) in Cape Town.
Gumede is facing a host of criminal charges relating to a R208 million tender for Durban Sold Waste and is currently out on R50 000 bail.
She attended the SONA through Salga. Salga is a public entity which consists of councillors and mayors across the country whose task is to promoted and protect the interests of local government.
Salga is funded through donations and receives an allocation from the National Treasury, it also reports to Parliament.
DA caucus leader in eThekwini, Nicole Graham insisted that President Cyril Ramaphosa should have not allowed Gumede to attend according to iol.co.za.
“While President Ramaphosa waxed lyrical about cutting corruption and state corruption, the woman who brought eThekwini to its knees sat directly in front of him and applauded.
“If Ramaphosa was serious about corruption, he wouldn’t allow Zandile Gumede anywhere near a red carpet,” she said.
Gumede was not unapologetic and insisted that she is still a member of Salga and had been elected. She is Salga's national deputy president.
“I was elected there not because I was a mayor, any councillor could have been nominated. So, having stepped down as a mayor did not affect my role as a deputy president.
“Yes, I flew first class because I am a deputy president. Everything went very well, I will continue to serve until my term comes to an end,” said a jovial Gumede.
Salga spokesperson Sivuyile Mbambato said that Gumede was still eligible to serve in her position and she was entitled to fly in 1st class.
“It is not for Salga to treat her differently from other councillors and office-bearers. Gumede remains the deputy resident of Salga as elected in the National Congress held in November 2016.
“The presumption of innocence till proven guilty should apply,” he added.
He said there was nothing different or special about Gumede flying first class. “There is grading that applies to all out presidents and deputy presidents; same as in government, MECs and premiers fly on a certain grading. It was not like she was treated special or differently.
“This has been a standard that applies to all our executive members and we must always adhere to until they are revised,” he said.
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