Three people have emerged as frontrunners to replace axed eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, with the ANC’s top six expected to make a final decision next week

Three sources in the provincial executive told News24 the three candidates, who will be presented to the top six on Monday, were former KwaZulu-Natal director-general Nhlanhla Ngidi, Economic Development MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube and Transport MEC Mxolisi Kaunda.

The name most likely to emerge as Gumede’s successor was Ngidi, sources told News24.

Ngidi chaired the task team employed by the provincial working committee (PWC), which ultimately recommended that Gumede be recalled.

ANC national spokesperson Dakota Legoete confirmed to News24 that secretary-general Ace Magashule, with the assistance of the rest of the top six, would make the final call.

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“The issue of deployment is an internal process currently because there are no elections. In between elections during NEC [national executive committee] intervals, the secretary of the province can speak to the SG [Magashule] in terms of redeployment.

“The decision does not need to be made by the entire leadership. The province will consult the SG to brief him on her redeployment and who takes over. That can only be done on Monday before an announcement can be made,” Legoete said.

One insider said Kaunda was interested in the job, however, many within the executive committee favoured Ngidi.

“He is a credible leader. He is respected and he will appease everyone,” one source said.

While Ngidi is considered a frontrunner, it is understood the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) has called for a female mayor.

Speaking to News24, ANCWL provincial secretary Nohlanhla Gabela said it wanted to see the 60% gender parity being advanced in the metro.

“We would appreciate it if national considers the deployment [of] a female candidate but we don’t have a choice. We want to see the consistency as happened in 2016. We still want to see 60% female representation on the exco,” she said.

Gumede was suspended and subsequently fired from her position following a two-day special meeting of the ANC’s provincial executive committee (PEC), which enacted the recommendations of the PWC that she be recalled.

Provincial ANC secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli said the PWC, which compiled a report on local governance in the province, had raised complaints from residents about issues such as water provisions, water infrastructure, refuse removal, as well as allegations of fraud and corruption.

Gumede was placed on special leave in June after she was arrested on charges of fraud and corruption relating to a Durban Solid Waste tender in the metro.

Ntuli, however, said her axing, along with the rest of the eThekwini and Msunduzi executive councils, was not about pending court cases, but about service delivery.

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