January 22 – eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede told a meeting of her executive committee (Exco) on Tuesday that the city would not be paying for “struggle song” album that was to be recorded by former president Jacob Zuma.
Gumede said she read about the municipality allegedly paying for the album “in the news”, “like everybody else”, adding that no such decision had been taken.
“Nobody took us into confidence about this project. Under normal circumstances, politicians make political announcements. As an ANC deployed mayor, I would have briefed the ANC caucus first before making such an announcement.”
Protocol was not followed, said Gumede.
“I don’t want the name of the former president to be dragged into the mud about something that is not existing.”
However, in early January, the city’s parks, arts and culture department head, Thembinkosi Ngcobo, said that the department would indeed be funding the project.
Ngcobo said the album would help to “preserve history” for future and current generations.
Struggle songs that were sung before the country voted in democracy were being lost, said Ngcobo, and were a great source of mass mobilisation during the apartheid years.
While Ngcobo did not say how much would be used to fund the album, he said that the department had an annual budget of R25 million, and the funds would be taken from this.
On the same day that Ngcobo confirmed his department would be funding the album, Democratic Alliance eThekwini councillor Nicole Graham called the deal “blatant patronage where the people’s money will be used to finance the former president’s lifestyle”.
“Whilst the history of our country holds immense value to us all, it is impossible that any rational person would believe that a corrupt and disgraced former president singing ANC struggle songs holds any benefit to the people of eThekwini,” said Graham.
Following this, the DA wrote to city manager Sipho Nzuza wanting to know where the funding for the album was to be found.
Nzuzua said that there was no approval given for the album.
Gumede – who chairs the eThekwini Region ANC in KZN – also used the Exco sitting to lash out at the media, particularly those outlets saying she was under investigation by the Hawks for alleged corruption.
On Monday, rumours started circulating early in the morning – complete with video footage of Hawks vehicles stopping outside a smart house – that the Hawks had raided Gumede’s house, but this proved to be false.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi told African News Agency on Monday that the raid was “fake news”.
“If we had conducted such a raid and arrest we would have issued a statement, given the high profile of the person,” he said.
– African News Agency (ANA)