Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede’s supporters have rallied around her after she was found not to have deliberately violated the bail conditions in her tender corruption case.
On Friday, the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court found that the lack of communication around Gumede’s change of address was not her fault. Her attorney rather had not informed the investigating officer that she had moved to another residence in Inanda after her lease at her Umhlanga home had expired.
Mzomuhle Dube, Gumede’s supporters’ spokesperson, said outside court that they believe Gumede was being “politically persecuted”.
“Well, if it’s not political persecution, what do you call it? She has been harassed in every other way yet there are no specific charges presented before the court. We don’t know what she must answer to,” Dube said.
He claimed Gumede was being targeted because of the upcoming eThekwini regional conference where she will be contesting the position of chairperson. He believed there was a campaign to portray Gumede as someone who lived a lavish lifestyle and “abused taxpayer’s money”.
“She is an ordinary person living an ordinary life. She doesn’t even own a Lamborghini. The fabrication was meant to mud her and taint her image so she appears as a person who has just abused taxpayers’ money,” he said.
On Thursday, the Asset Forfeiture Unit and Hawks swooped on Gumede and co-accused’s residences and seized some of their property. They found Gumede was not at her listed residence.
The court heard that Gumede’s attorney, Bulelani Mazomba, had not followed up with the investigating officer about her change of address.
Magistrate Dawn Somaroo warned Gumede: “Make sure you do a follow up in future so that the State is aware.”
Gumede and her co-accused are expected back in court in January 2020. They are accused of colluding with corporate entities and others to circumvent the outcome of the supply chain management protocols of the municipality relating to a Durban Solid Waste tender worth more than R200m.