The African National Congress (ANC)’s Integrity Commission in KwaZulu-Natal has given former eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede the green light to return to her positions, both in the ANC and the provincial legislature.
Gumede was asked to step aside after she was arrested in connection with the alleged fraud and corruption in the awarding of Durban Waste removal tender.
ANC Spokesperson in KwaZulu-Natal Nhlakanipho Ntombela says the commission was satisfied with Gumede’s explanations.
“The last PEC meeting got a report on Monday from the Provincial Integrity Committee which confirmed that they had a session with comrade Zandile Gumede. They concluded that on their engagement she was open and clear with her predicament with the law. Also taken into cognisance that it has been more than a year now she has been in court with no charges forthcoming. So, they took a decision that she be reinstated in the organisational structures and also as a public representative of the ANC in the provincial legislature of KZN.”
Last week, Gumede and her co-accused intend to ask the Durban Magistrate’s Court to strike the fraud and corruption case against them off the roll. They say this should happen if the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) fails to furnish them with a forensic audit report on March 23, 2021.
This after the state asked for another postponement and said although the voluminous audit report has been finalised, it still needs to be indexed and scanned. It has asked the court to adjourn the case until April next year.
However, this was opposed by the defence teams, who accused the state of shifting the goalposts. They also expressed doubt that the audit is ready and said they don’t believe that the state has a case against the accused.
Gumede is charged with fraud and corruption in connection with a Durban Solid Waste tender of over R400 million. She is charged with 21 other people – including eThekwini city manager, Sipho Nzuza, some municipal officials, councillors and several businesses.
During arguments, Nzuza’s advocate Doda Madonsela accused the state of delaying tactics. He told the court that he doesn’t believe that the audit report has been finalised. However, state prosecutor, Ashika Lucken argued that auditors still need to index and scan the report before it is given to the defence. She says the forensic audit report comprises 741 pages and that the annexures amount to 750 000 pages.
However, Magistrate Dawn Somaroo raised concerns about adjourning the case until April next year. She said such a prolonged adjournment will be unfair to the accused. She then ordered the state to provide the accused with the forensic audit report and indictment during the next court appearance. If not, the defence will bring an application that the case be struck off the roll.