Gumede defends controversial State of the Nation Address appearance

Gumede defends controversial State of the Nation Address appearance

- Zandile Gumede has released a statement on the reaction to her State of the Nation Address appearance

- The Democratic Alliance's Nicole Graham hadn't been happy that an invitation was extended to the corruption-accused former mayor

- However, Gumede claims this response was simply a jealous one in her response

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Zandile Gumede has responded to the criticism levied against her for her attendance at the State of the Nation Address. reported that Democratic Alliance official Nicole Graham had condemned the corruption-accused former eThekwini mayor for shamelessly parading down the red carpet.

Now, Gumede claims the criticism had been an attempt to shift attention away from more pressing issues:

"Under normal circumstances as a public representative, such comments should have not worried me but this time it did and raised many emotions and questions for numerous reasons. The envious statement made by Cllr Nicole Graham was just another art of shifting focus from a pertinent discussion about the presence of the last apartheid president FW de Klerk who denies that he was presiding over a crime against humanity."

READ ALSO: Ex-Durban mayor attends SONA while out on R50 000 bail

Graham, according to the ex-mayor, had turned a blind eye to issues within her own party:

"It has become Graham’s second nature to protect and advocate for males in leadership positions. She has no regard for women leaders and is willing to tear apart her Durban caucus in support of another male John Steenhuisen against Mbali Ntuli. In fact, she has turned a blind eye on her opposition male wrongdoings."

Gumede defended her political position that entitled her to an invitation to the president's event:

"I was expecting a councillor in her position to know that I am still the deputy president of SALGA and have always been a part of SONA delegation. It is not surprising that she is ignorant about local government and yet she leads a mob of councillors with such spurious utterances. The further delay by Hawks on their investigation harms my political standing in society and creates an opportunity for the likes of Graham to drag my name in the mud for her to get famous. What was the rational of the HAWKS on arresting and charging me without completing an investigation? Until today, I have not received formal court charges, hence the rule of innocent till proven guilty must apply to me as well."

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