Zandile Gumede and co-accused due back in court for corruption case

Zandile Gumede and co-accused due back in court for corruption case

Gumede and her co-accused – which include former eThekwini city manager Sipho Nzuza, former supply-chain manager Sandile Ngcobo and ANC councillor Mondli Mthembu – face more than 2,000 counts of fraud, corruption, racketeering and the contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) linked to an irregular Durban Solid Waste (DSW) tender amounting to more than R430 million.

The former mayor and others are accused of colluding with corporate entities and others to circumvent the outcome of the supply-chain management protocols of the eThekwini metro.

In November last year, the case was postponed to March after the state confirmed its readiness for trial, however, some of the legal representatives advised that they would be making additional requests for further particulars.

The court ordered that all requests for further particulars be submitted timeously to allow the state to respond by 14 February 2022.

The matter was then postponed to 29 – 30 March 2022 for these requests and the state’s response thereto.

The date of 18 July 2022 was reserved as a possible trial date and 55 witnesses have been lined up by the state.

Kickbacks

In its 397-page docket, the state alleges that the accused engaged in a criminal enterprise to manipulate the procurement processes of the eThekwini metro to ensure that contracts were awarded to specific suppliers and companies.

Gumede allegedly directly or indirectly received R2.8 million in kickbacks from service providers who won an irregular DSW tender that was awarded in 2017.

The payments all took place while Gumede was still the mayor of eThekwini and she did not disclose them to the municipality as required by law.

The former mayor is also accused of using her political status to influence the appointment of senior eThekwini personnel responsible for supply-chain management, as well as legal matters and human resources.

Gumede is also accused of giving instructions to the bid specification committee (BSC), bid adjudication committee (BAC) and the bid evaluation committee (BEC), despite the fact that mayors are not allowed to be involved in tender specification processes.

She has denied the allegations against her and maintains the charges she faces are politically motivated.

In October 2019, the Hawks and Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) swooped in on the fraud, corruption and money-laundering 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.

Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe

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