The Police have intercepted a WhatsApp voice recording in which a call is made to defend the mayor of eThekwini Metro, Zandile Gumede, the Sunday Tribune reports.
Gumede faces charges that include fraud and racketeering and reportedly handed herself over to the Hawks last Tuesday morning. She was granted R50 000 bail.
It was reported that the recording had been circulated among Gumede’s supporters.
Her supporters were reportedly angered by a video showing the mayor in the holding cell of the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court, which was shared on social media.
It was reported that the speaker in the recording labels the video of Gumede as propaganda, accusing the police who were present during her court appearance of recording it.
The speaker was quoted as saying Gumede’s supporters would not “listen”, would not “retreat” and would not “go back”.
“If the gun must fire, let it fire. We are ready to fight. Bring it on,” the speaker was quoted.
Furthermore, the speaker claimed that the charges levelled against Gumede were a “fight” against people who speak isiZulu which commenced with former president Jacob Zuma.
“You keep saying we must calm down. Nonsense man. Let’s arm and attack. Let death come if death comes. We did not come to earth to live forever. Get away, hypocrites,” the speaker was quoted as saying.
Hawks spokesperson, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi told the publication that the police had come across a number of recordings, adding that nothing would deter them from their investigations.
Mulaudzi said he is not certain why the police were being accused of treating Gumede unfairly, adding that the police had respected the mayor who had not raised any complaint.
Mulaudzi said those who had accused the police of treating Gumede unfairly were “playing politics”.
Gumede, who is also the chairperson of the ANC eThekwini region – handed herself over to police on Tuesday morning, as did co-accused ANC councillor Mondli Mthembu and businessman Craig Poonan.
They have been charged in connection with tender fraud for a 2016 Durban Solid Waste (DSW) contract for which the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) says no work was done. The tender was for R208 million.
Several other people were arrested two weeks ago for their alleged role in the same case. All of the suspects were released on bail and will appear in court again in August.
It was revealed in court on Tuesday that several of the whistle-blowers in the case against Gumede came from within the municipality. The State said its case against the mayor was expedited to protect witnesses from possible intimidation.
(additional reporting, ANA)