Corruption, fraud and money laundering relating to a more than 200 million rand tender. The municipality came under fire last week when it was learnt that city buses were taken off their routes to transport protesters to the ANC headquarters. About 500 supporters of criminally charged eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede again clashed with police outside the African National Congress (ANC) provincial headquarters in Durban late on Monday 24 June 2019.
This is the second consecutive week that Gumede’s supporters have marched to the offices demanding that Gumede – who has been placed on 30-days’ leave by the party – be reinstated as mayor. The majority of the supporters were clad in ANC regalia and followed the same modus operandi as they had during their previous protests, saying they would not leave until a decision to reinstate Gumede was made.
Teargas had been utilised for crowd control. Gumede is also the chairperson of the eThekwini Region ANC, the biggest in the country by numbers.
The leadership of the region was suspended three weeks ago and a task team established; Gumede’s supporters are also seeking to have that task team dissolved.
Gumede, senior councillor Mondli Mthembu and businessman Craig Poonan were charged in mid-May for graft relating to a R208 million Durban Solid Waste contract dating back to 2016.
everal others implicated in the same fraud were arrested two weeks before the trio’s appearance. All of the accused were released on bail and will appear again in August. Following a public outcry of her delivering the annual budget and ostensibly interacting with some municipal staff who had implicated her in the graft, Gumede was consequently placed on 30 days’ leave by the provincial ANC leadership.
Deputy mayor, councillor Fawzia Peer, has been standing in for Gumede until she returns. The municipality came under fire last week when it was learnt that city buses were taken off their routes to transport Gumede’s supporters to the ANC headquarters. The party said it was looking into the allegations.
But the Democratic Alliance’s eThekwini caucus leader, Nicole Graham, said the ANC had been using municipal buses “to ferry people wherever they choose” for years. “Our own investigations have found that 49 buses were used [in last week’s protests by Gumede supporters]; 10 from the Umlazi depot and 39 from the Ntuzuma depot. As usual, their ordinary routes and commuters were abandoned in favour of the ANC,” said Graham.
The Hawks have cited interference and intimidation as some of the challenges in investigating allegations against eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede and other municipal officials. Gumede earlier appeared in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court alongside two other accused. Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, says the accused are facing eight charges including money laundering, corruption, and racketeering. Zwakele Mncwango DA leader in the KZN has more.
The IFP Youth Brigade is currently marching to the eThekwini Municipality offices in Durban, demanding Mayor Zandile Gumede step down. Gumede and two co-accused appeared in court earlier May of 2019. They’re facing charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering relating to a more than 200 million rand tender. The IFP Youth Brigade argues Gumede’s bail conditions prevent her from fully executing her responsibilities as a mayor.
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal appears divided on how eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede should be dealt with. The ANC youth league in the region wants her to resign. But the party in the province says the law must take its course. Gumede and two co-accused – Councillor Mondli Mthembu and service provider Craig Ponnan, are facing a raft of charges relating to a more than 200 million rand tender. The trio appeared in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court Tuesday and were granted bail of 50-thousand-rand each.