Former eThekwini mayor appears in court for fraud and corruption

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Former eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede. (Picture: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)
Former eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede. (Picture: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)

NEWS


Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede and 20 others appeared in the Durban Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday. The case of fraud and corruption against them has been transferred to the Durban High Court.

National Prosecuting Authority KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Natasha Kara said: “The matter of the State v Gumede and Others appeared today in the Durban Magistrates’ Court. The state, represented by senior state Advocate Ashika Lucken handed in the indictment to the court, as well as the various legal representatives for the accused. The matter was transferred to the Durban High Court and postponed to June 14 2021 for pretrial conference.”

READ: Stepping aside means ... keeping your salary?

Gumede – who is now an ANC MPL at the KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature – and her co-accused, including suspended city manager Sipho Nzuza, were charged in connection with an irregular 2017 Durban solid waste tender that cost taxpayers more than R400 million. At the time, Gumede was the mayor of eThekwini Municipality.

The state accuses the former mayor of having benefited unduly from the tender, which it contends had been issued irregularly to begin with.

Supporters of Gumede, who demonstrated outside the Durban Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, believe she is innocent and that the case against her was politically motivated.

Last week, three more people – Welcome Phewa, S’duduzo Khuzwayo and Mthokozisi Nojiyese – were arrested and added to the Gumede case. The three, who are eThekwini Municipality ANC councillors, each received R15 000 bail after appearing in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Thursday last week. Their inclusion in the case makes the total number of accused 21.

Gumede, who had previously been suspended by the provincial executive committee of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal in August, was cleared by the party’s integrity commission in December. She was subsequently sworn in as the ruling party’s MPL in KwaZulu-Natal, despite facing criminal charges and the ANC’s own directives that members should voluntarily “step aside” if there are charges against them.

READ: Opportunity to review ‘corrupt’ public procurement system – Corruption Watch

Meanwhile supporters of Gumede, who demonstrated outside the Durban Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, believe she is innocent and that the case against her was politically motivated.


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Lubabalo Ngcukana 

Journalist

+27 11 713 9001
lubabalo.ngcukana@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park

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