ANC eThekwini region calls on law to take its course on arrest of mayor

eThekwini Municipality mayor Zandile Gumede.
eThekwini Municipality mayor Zandile Gumede.
Image: THULI DLAMINI

The ANC in the eThekwini region in KwaZulu-Natal has called on the public not to cast aspersions on the arrest of its chairperson Zandile Gumede who is facing a number of charges relating to a R208m tender.

Gumede, who is also the mayor of eThekwini, was expected to appear in the Durban commercial crimes court on Tuesday along with a senior municipal councillor Mondli Mthembu and another official in relation to tender fraud within the Durban solid waste department.

"We subscribe to the principle of innocence until proven otherwise, which is a tenant of our jurisprudence. We are a strong believer in the rule of law and the principles of natural justice," said ANC regional secretary Bheki Ntuli.

"However, we know that the court of public opinion doesn’t subscribe to these principles. We therefore urge everyone to respect the court as the only competent body to pronounce on these outcomes."

On Tuesday, Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said in a statement: “Three suspects will appear at the Durban specialised commercial court today as part the Hawks’ National Clean Audit Task Team (NCATT) investigation at the eThekwini municipality.

“The three will face the same charges as the other nine suspects who were arrested two weeks ago on allegations of fraud and corruption in relation to a 2016 R208m Durban solid waste tender where service providers were allegedly paid huge amounts of monies even though they did not render any service," said Mulaudzi.

The nine suspects that appeared earlier in the month are eThekwini deputy head of strategy and new development Robert Abbu, 62, supply chain manager Sandile Ngcobo, 41, Hlenga Sibisi, 43, Mzwandile Dludla, 24, Sinthamone Ponnan, 55, Sithulele Mkhize, 38, Bongani Dlomo, 53 and Prabagaram Pariah,61.

A forensic report which was compiled by Integrity Forensic Solutions which had been commissioned by the council’s own City Integrity and Investigations Unit, found that Gumede, Mthembu and three officials orchestrated a tender scam which saw eThekwini pay R25m to hire and clean chemical toilets for six months.

The same council had previously paid R3m to hire the same toilets for three years.

This is a developing story.

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