'The truth shall be revealed' - Zandile Gumede after appearing for corruption

Embattled eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede said the truth would be revealed about the corruption-related charges against her in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court.

"What I will say is that the truth shall be revealed. We would never allow the eThekwini metro to fall into the wrong hands. That [is] why as branches, we need to be strong to ensure that our metro remains strong because there are people who are eyeing it," she said outside the court on Thursday.

Gumede and her co-accused appeared in a packed courtroom where there was a barrage of security officials and supporters.

She was arrested earlier this year on charges of fraud and corruption.

The nine other accused are eThekwini municipality deputy head of strategy and new development Robert Abbu, 62, supply chain manager Sandile Ngcobo, 41, Hlenga Sibisi, 43, Mzwandile Dludla, 24, Sinthamone Ponnan, 55, Sithulele Mkhize, 38, Bongani Dlomo, 53, and 61-year-old Prabagaram Pariah.

The allegations of fraud and corruption are related to a 2016 R208m Durban Solid Waste tender where service providers were allegedly paid huge amounts of money even though they did not render any service.

Speaking on Gumede's behalf during proceedings, lawyer Jimmy Howse – who has represented the likes of political heavyweight Mike Mabuyakhulu – called for the relaxing of bail conditions.

He said the conditions – which prevent her from interfering with supply chain matters, the waste department, finance department, human resources department and legal department – were vague at best.

"There is ambiguity and it is preventing her from performing her duties as mayor."

He called for the wording of the bail conditions to be amended so she could do her job.

Prosecutor Ashika Lucken was, however, quick to correct Howse, saying Gumede was being prevented from intimidating staff.

"The intention is not to prevent [the] mayor from doing her duties but to restrict her involvement in intimidation."

Howse stated that Gumede had been arrested prematurely.

"All she has is a meaningless charge unsupported by evidence. It does not explain the basis on which they (the charges) are made." He said the investigating officer accused Gumede of playing a "major role" in corruption but did not say what the role was.

Responding, Lucken said that further arrests were expected and reminded Howse that Gumede had been implicated in allegations of the intimidation of municipal staff.

"I submit that the duration of the investigation will last four more months. We have already issued over 200 subpoenas. We have around 25 or so more that will be issued."

The matter is expected to return to court on January 15, 2020.

GET THE NEWS at your fingertips and download the News24 app for Android here now. Get it for your iPhone here.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 868 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
83% - 9913 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
10% - 1154 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.