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eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede granted R50 000 bail with strict conditions

eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede
eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede
Image: Supplied.

eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede will not spend a night behind bars after she was granted R50 000 bail following her court appearance on charges including racketeering, corruption and money laundering.

 Gumede appeared at the Durban commercial crimes court on Tuesday alongside her co-accused Mondli Mthembu in relation to tender fraud within the Durban solid waste department worth R208 million.

Magistrate Dawn Somaroo gave Gumede strict bail conditions, instructing her not to:

- Communicate with operations staff of the eThekwini metro administration;

- communicate with all supply chain management, legal and financial employees in the metro.

 The mayor is also prevented from accessing any documents related to the investigation; leave the country or KwaZulu-Natal without notifying the police; hand over passports to law enforcement officials and not apply for new travel documents.

 Magistrate Somaroo told the accused to stick to their bail conditions.

SA Police Services in Durban prevented the media from photographing eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede at the Durban Commercial Crimes Court on May 14 2019.

 "Due to intimidation and threats, investigations had to be brought forward. These conditions are strict and any hint of these conditions directly or indirectly violated, you will be brought back to court to see if you violated conditions," she said.

 The mayor has been accused of using her political position to influence a Durban Solid Waste (DSW) contract that had no ceiling on the amount of illegal dumping. There was a previous ceiling of R5m.

 Earlier on Tuesday, the ANC in the eThekwini region in KwaZulu-Natal called on the public not to cast aspersions on the arrest of Gumede.

 "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.

 Speaking outside court, Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the unit was still investing other cases in the eThekwini municipality and other provinces.

"We are not only looking at this case, there are other matters that we are still dealing with. There are a lot of investigations that are still going to happen within eThekwini," said Mulaudzi.

He dismissed suggestions that the timing of Gumede’s arrest after elections was as a result of a deal that was struck with the law enforcement officials.

 "I don't know where the deal is coming from and I think it's neither here or there, we deal with investigations. We need to ensure that we arm the prosecutors we deal with information [so] for us to merely rush them will just compromise everything," he said.

Gumede's next appearance is on August, 8th along with other suspects that appeared earlier in the month.

They 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.

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