Support grows for former eThekwini mayor ahead of court appearance

Support grows for former eThekwini mayor ahead of court appearance

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - FEBRUARY 16: Mayor Cllr Zandile Gumede during day 3 of the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon from Pietermaritzburg to Durban on February 16, 2019 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)

Supporters denounced the handling of the corruption case against Zandile Gumede, and feel her involvement in the case has not yet been fully explained.

Supporters of embattled former eThekwini mayor, Zandile Gumede, hope that the case against her will be kicked out, maintaining their belief that the tender corruption case is politically motivated.

Speaking to News24 on Tuesday ahead of Gumede’s return to court on Wednesday, Mzomuhle Dube said Gumede’s support was growing.

“We are saying that we have reached a level. People must begin to understand, if they had a case, they would have charged her properly. What we are saying all along is happening. The National Prosecuting Authority has been unable to present any concise charges,” said Dube, a loyal Gumede ally, who is also the coordinator of her supporters.

“We have had smaller build-up events [before] the court appearance tomorrow. People are starting to see that all is not like it seems. Mama Gumede is an honest person and a good leader. We are expecting a large crowd tomorrow.”

He said they would also host a vigil outside court late on Tuesday night.

“She is a recognised leader and people want to come out to show their support. When we spoke this week, she said she was ready for anything.”

Dube said they denounced the handling of the corruption case against Gumede. He felt her involvement in the case was not yet fully explained.

“In her last court appearance, the State failed to present specific charges regarding her involvement in the case. Up to today, we have not heard the State putting charges to her.”

Dube called on the court to throw out the case.

“We will continue supporting her. Her support is growing. We are preparing for a regional conference. We feel she is poised to reclaim her leadership.”

Gumede is out on R50 000 bail.

In December 2019, the Hawks arrested seven more people, including four councillors, in connection with the allegations, which relate to a R200 million Durban solid waste tender.

Twenty-two people have been arrested in the case on various fraud and corruption charges, including councillors, municipal officials and community-based contractors, News24 previously reported.

Gumede stepped down from her position as mayor last year after senior leadership intervened following weeks of disruptions by her supporters at the ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal offices.

In October, the Hawks and Asset Forfeiture Unit swooped in on the fraud, corruption and money laundering accused, seizing various homes and luxury cars.

Gumede previously said she did not own luxury cars and was as “poor as a church mouse”.

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