Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, who had hoped that the corruption case against her would be kicked out of the Durban Magistrate’s Court, has to wait until April 16 when she returns to court. Her case was postponed after her brief appearance.
Gumede’s appearance for her hearing got off to a bumpy start after one of the co-accused collapsed during proceedings. Paramedics were called to the scene before the matter was postponed to April.
Speaking shortly after the postponement, Gumede said her legal team did not have a charge sheet.
“We will patiently wait. I’m very sad [at the delays] as they are still investigating.”
From the National Prosecuting Authority, Natasha Kara provided an update on the reasons for the postponement.
“The state made submissions to the court asking for the adjournment. One of the reasons was certain documents were found during the search and seizure operation in the home of one of the accused. This warranted further investigation. Added to that is the voluntary information which the state has in its possession which needs to be further analysed.”
The former eThekwini mayor is outside the court where she will address her supporters, who have openly expressed their hopes that the case against her will be thrown out of court, maintaining the belief that the tender corruption case against her 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 and the coordinator of her supporters.
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.
(Compiled by Gopolang Moloko, background reporting News24 Wire)