eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede will be appearing in the regional commercial crimes court in Durban on Tuesday, in what is expected to become one of the most high-profile corruption cases in recent years.
Gumede is expected to be handing herself over to the Hawks, following which she will be appearing in court on a string of corruption-related charges.
City Press understands that Gumede (58) will be appearing alongside senior municipal councillor Mondli Mthembu on charges including money laundering, corruption and racketeering.
“She will then apply for bail which the state is not intending to oppose,” said a senior law enforcement official privy to the details.
Another senior law enforcement official told City Press this evening: “It is finally happening. I am told that they are bringing a big team of heavy-hitting lawyers. It had all been planned to happen quietly without the knowledge of the media.”
City Press has learnt that a task team has been formed to investigate scores of other ward councillors in the city, and is expected to conclude several corruption related cases against them.
Gumede’s arrest has been a long time coming.
In December, City Press reported that Gumede, a staunch ally of former president Jacob Zuma, faced imminent arrest after a lengthy Hawks investigation into allegations of fraud, money laundering and corruption. This followed the arrest of three municipal officials on charges of fraud and theft. A senior law enforcement official told City Press at the time that Gumede’s arrest was “not a matter of if, but when”.
In May last year, City Press reported that the Hawks had launched the investigation into Gumede following a forensic investigation into the awarding of a contract to hire and clean chemical toilets.
READ: The mayor of graft
A forensic report, compiled by Integrity Forensic Solutions which had been commissioned by the council’s own City Integrity and Investigations Unit, found that Gumede, Mthembu, and three officials orchestrated a tender scam which saw eThekwini pay R25 million to hire and clean chemical toilets for six months. The same council had previously paid R3 million to hire the same toilets for three years.
The report found that Mthembu, Gumede and three other officials had a hand in the scam.