Is this what the ANC call ‘getting tough on corruption’? Because it would seem there are a few caveats attached to their latest announcement: Zandile Gumede has been told to ‘step aside’ by the powers that be – but she’s hardly in for the bollocking of a lifetime when you look at the fine print of the decision.
The structures of the ruling party within KwaZulu-Natal ruled on Friday that their decision to appoint Zandile Gumede to the Provincial Legislature would be ‘reversed’. However, that doesn’t directly mean that she has been relieved of her position just yet – in fact, it seems she’s been allowed to ‘secure the bag’ beforehand:
She is stepping aside and not stepping down. Big difference— #TheLordOfTheMedia (@samkelemaseko) August 28, 2020
"she is still as member of the legislature, still RTT member but won't perform functions"
KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala has also confirmed that the ‘leave’ will indeed work as if it was ‘suspension with pay’.
The swirling confusion has been pounced on by the DA. John Steenhuisen, who left Cyril Ramaphosa stumped with a question about Zandile Gumede in Parliament on Thursday, slammed the “jolly holiday” the ex-mayor would now be granted. Dean Macpherson, the shadow trade minister, was also snarling:
“Its a jolly holiday for Zandile Gumede! She’ll be on full pay and will remain a member of the Legislature. Rinse, repeat of what happened in eThekwini. Nice work if you can get it…”John Steenhuisen
“This is ANC logic for you. Promote Gumede to the KZN Legislature, thereby increasing her salary to more money than she was on before, then put her on leave with full pay. What a dream!”Dean Macpherson
So, what will Zandile Gumede rake-in during her leave of absence? The yearly salary for a Member of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) is just over R1.1 million per annum. That means she can make a fairly decent wedge while sidelined by her own chequered history. It works out at the following rates.
In 2019, meanwhile, Zandile Gumede was able to pocket R224 000 for the two months she was on ‘special leave’ as eThekwini mayor. Her salary was even better back then, raking in R1.35 million each year, or R112 000 a month. Still, we’re sure that this current wage won’t cause the politician any sleepness nights…