‘See you in court!’ - eThekwini mayor slams businessman Calvin Mathibeli over bribe claims
Durban mayor Zandile Gumede has come out strongly against allegations that she demanded payments from a group of contractors that shared work on a R650-million construction project.
Gumede‚ who is also the chairperson of the ANC’s biggest region‚ was addressing the media at a press briefing hosted by the ANC eThekwini region on a number of issues on Wednesday. She vehemently denied receiving any donation from multimillionaire Durban businessman Calvin Mathibeli.
Now Gumede is taking Mathibeli to court. “This is not something I can take lightly‚” she said. “It’s tarnishing my image.”
Gumede continued: “As a woman mayor I am not going to be budging. He must tell me everything because in the ANC‚ when we’re dealing with donations we’re dealing with a treasurer and chairperson. There must be a letter that shows there is this donation.
“The issue of the donation is a serious issue and sub judice. I’m not going to be taking it lying down as the chairperson of the ANC. I have engaged my regional leadership and also my provincial leadership. As the chairperson and mayor‚ I have taken this to my lawyers and they are dealing with it. That’s why I don’t want to pre-empt anything.”
ANC regional secretary Bheki Ntuli could also testify that “at no stage we wrote to this guy and asked for any donation‚” said Gumede.
“But we will talk about this in the court case. For now I don’t think we must talk more about it.”
The mayor was responding to allegations in a Durban Sunday newspaper that she was the main wheeler-dealer in a R650-million construction project awarded to eight companies in 2015.
Mathibeli‚ one of the contractors awarded work on the project‚ claimed that he paid a large sum of money to Gumede to benefit the ANC and her own foundation in order to remain contracted. He said Gumede invited him to her house and asked him to give her R100‚000 because the ANC needed funds‚ which he did.
Mathibeli also claimed that Gumede got him to pay for ANC regalia and the branding of vehicles‚ which was done at his business premises in Umhlanga. However‚ when the mayor asked him to make a R150‚000 contribution to the Zandile Gumede Foundation‚ he declined.
The ANC eThekwini region has sprung to Gumede’s defence‚ with Ntuli saying the regional executive committee rejected Mathibeli’s allegations in the strongest terms.
“We want to put on record that the ANC in eThekwini region has no agreement with him and we therefore distance ourselves from characters like him. We are encouraged that the mayor is also considering taking legal actions against him following his frivolous allegations‚” said Ntuli.
He said as the ANC they strongly believe in the principle of clean governance. “Everything that we do and the manner we run our municipalities is to ensure there is no fraud and corruption.
“How we’re running the city is important because this metro is very important to the ANC. We’re clear as the ANC that we did not request any assistance from Calvin and we didn’t receive any money as the ANC‚” said Ntuli.
Gumede said she was not surprised by all the allegations levelled against her. “I want to put this on record clearly: what is happening I was expecting‚ because by the time I came as mayor I made sure that I do what the ANC said I must do in the city. I introduced the radical economic transformation framework to ensure that if our people need to benefit‚ they benefit correctly.
“Now those that have benefitted from the city are in trouble because we’re saying this cake of the city everyone must share so that we can all be happy. So this rain that is coming to me as the chairperson of the region and also as mayor‚ I’m not worried about. That’s why I’m equal to the task.
“What I’m doing is not my thing; I’m doing what the ANC wants me to do‚” she added.
In response‚ Mathibeli told TimesLIVE that he encouraged the mayor to go to court so that he could "prove to the world she is a liar".
"Before she goes to the court‚ I’m asking her to allow me to publish the tracking records of my cars to prove how many times I went to her house in Umhlanga. Zandile Gumede must stop using the ANC’s name to advance her dirty games."
He said he had received numerous death threats from hitmen in hostels and those involved in the taxi industry but he hadn't reported them to police. "I was not born in a police station and will not report anything to police‚ but I’m war ready and I’m waiting for them. I'm ready to die for the truth!"
Mathibeli said he was willing to meet with ANC leadership to present his evidence‚ adding that he had invoices and pictures of the branding he donated to the ANC following the mayor's request.