ANC heavyweight Zandile Gumede is unlikely to return to her position as eThekwini mayor after her 30-days of "special leave", with the party expected to force her to resign.
Gumede was forced to take leave by the KwaZulu-Natal ANC's provincial executive committee, led by chairperson Sihle Zikalala, after her arrest - and subsequent release on R50 000 bail - on charges of fraud and corruption related to a R208m Durban Solid Waste tender.
Gumede, who led the biggest ANC region, eThekwini, suffered another blow when her region was disbanded for failing to hold a conference.
Two party insiders told News24 that she was unlikely to return following her absence. The "special leave" they said, was part of a plan to give Gumede, one of the few remaining powerful Zuma loyalists, the boot following her run-in with the law.
"The 30 days is for her to make a mistake. She has done it by lobbying her supporters to cause chaos. I doubt she will abide by the instruction given to distance herself from the march by her supporters, because she needs them."
On Monday, Gumede's supporters clashed with police when they marched to ANC headquarters, demanding her "suspension" be lifted, as well as the disbandment of the regional task team, News24 reported.
This was the second large march by her supporters within seven days.
Another ANC insider said the party was likely to evaluate her suspension and extend her leave when the 30 days expires.
"After that, we will assess the state of the metro and wait for a report. After that report, because of the mess she has created in the metro, we will be forced to act and she will be asked to resign, but we expect she will refuse because she doesn't have capacity for something else.
"This is a campaign to break down all the walls former president (Jacob) Zuma created, starting from Gumede. eThekwini and Moses Mabhida regions are the only two regions left where Zuma still has a stronghold."
The party's provincial working committee, which met on Monday, was expected to discuss Gumede and the plan to stabilise the disbanded region.
At the time of her suspension, Gumede told the Daily News that she would be back as mayor, and that she would not resign as it would look like an admission of guilt for something she "did not do".
Her 30 days leave will come to an end in the week of July 9.
Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer is acting mayor in the interim.