The legal team for former eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede is expected to file for an application for a permanent stay of prosecution before her next court appearance date on the 10th September. Gumede’s legal team blames the delays on the State citing that investigations are not yet finalised.
The former mayor and 17 others including City Manager Sipho Nzuza appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on fraud and corruption charges.
The charges emanate from a waste removal tender worth over R200 million.
Spokesperson for Gumede’s supporters Mzomuhle Dube, says, “It appeared that the prosecutorial team had a lot of excuses particularly alluding to the COVID-19 pandemic alluding that some of the investigators stay out of the province. As a result, they could not travel easily. The other aspect was the closure of the banks. They said there are some bank statements that should have been secured from the banks. What the defence team decided to do was to alert the court around the possible application of permanent stay of prosecution. So that was advised by the court to say they must make that application before the 10th of September.”
Supporters of Gumede say it is unfair that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has not yet furnished Gumede with the charges since her arrest in May last year.
In January, the court placed the matter under case management to fast-track it.
Dube says failure the state’s failure to present the charges against Gumede is an indication that they have no case against the former mayor.
“This case was placed under case management in January, which was a third appearance. In terms of the allocated period, six months was allocated for the NPA or the prosecutorial team to actually bring forward the preferred charge so that Gumede will be able to respond and allow the legal team to prepare for the case itself. Until today, I can say to you six months have already lapsed. We are expecting that today without preferred charges being presented to court it means there is no case from the NPA.”