Former eThekwini Metro mayor Zandile Gumede's criminal case, involving hundreds of millions in alleged fraud and corruption at the municipality, has been postponed to May due to the national lockdown, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), has said.
"In consultation with the legal representative of the accused, it was agreed that warrants would be authorised but stayed until the next appearance court date arranged, being 21 May. No accused or legal representation was in court [on Thursday]. Prior arrangements in this regard had been made," NPA spokesperson Natasha Kara said.
Gumede is accused before court of using her position of power to influence tenders at Durban Solid Waste (DSW). She has 17 other co-accused.
Gumede is currently out on R50 000 bail. She, councillor Mondli Mthembu and others are accused of colluding with corporate entities and others to circumvent the outcome of the supply chain management protocols of the municipality.
The Hawks and the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) of the NPA last year swooped on several of her co-accused, seizing various homes and luxury cars.
Among the 10 properties the AFU and Hawks seized was the plush Prestondale residence of Gumede's co-accused, Hlenga Sibisi.
Sadness at postponement
Gumede said in a statement on Wednesday that she was "saddened by another postponement because this has caused unnecessary prejudice and one has been subjected to the court of public opinion".
"I fully understand the impact of the pandemic and I hope that the prosecution will be ready when we appear in court. We need this 'cup to pass' so that we can be afforded an opportunity to clear our name."
She praised her supporters, saying they "kept me going".
"We must remain united and solid, and never allow those who are opposed to our unity to divide us. Let us jealously guard our unity because, through unity, we will overcome."