eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede to appear on corruption charges
eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede is expected to hand herself over to the Hawks and appear in the Durban Commercial Crimes court on Tuesday on a raft of corruption charges.
In May last year it emerged that Gumede, a strong ally of former president Jacob Zuma, was being investigated by the Hawks for facilitating money laundering‚ fraud and corruption, allegedly to pay back cronies who helped her political ambitions.
The Hawks had launched the investigation into Gumede following a forensic investigation into the awarding of a contract to hire and clean chemical toilets.
In December a City Press article reported that a forensic report by Integrity Forensic Solutions named Gumede and Mondli Mthembu‚ a councillor who chairs the human-settlements committee in council‚ and three other officials who allegedly orchestrated a corruption and money laundering “scam” which saw eThekwini pay R25m to hire about 800 chemical toilets for six months.
Senior sources close to the investigation confirmed that Gumede, with the support of her legal team, will hand herself over to the Hawks to avoid being arrested. She is then expected to appear in the Durban Commercial Crimes court.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Hawks spokesperson Brig Hangwani Mulaudzi said 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.
He said 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.
The nine suspects are Ethekwini municipality 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).
"As indicated previously, the attendance of all those who played a role in the alleged offences shall be secured before court where the allegations shall be tested," said the national head of the DPCI, Godfrey Lebeya.
This is a developing story.