Pre-trial issues have been put to bed in the Durban High Court in the R340-million tender corruption case against former eThekwini mayor, Zandile Gumede and 21 other accused. They are facing charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering charges in connection with an alleged irregular Durban Solid Water tender awarded in 2017.
In a month’s time, the much awaited fraud and corruption trial of Zandile Gumede is expected to get under way in the Durban High Court. The pre-trial issues of exchanging particulars have now been ironed out between the state and defence.
At the centre of this coming trial is the alleged irregular 2017 Durban Solid Waste tender of 2017 to the tune of R340-million. The indictment lists Gumede as a key figure in the case, with the tender being awarded while she was mayor. Another prominent accused is the former eThekwini municipal manager, Sipho Nzuza.
During pre-trial proceedings it transpired that some of the accused do not have funds to pay their legal representatives after their funds were frozen following a court application by the Asset Forfeiture Unit.
Advocate Carl van Der Merwe tried to persuade the state to release at least R3, 5 million of the R9-million that is currently frozen. Van Der Merwe is representing accused Bongani Dlomo, Khoboso Dlomo and their company, Omphile Thabang Projects. However, the state did not accede to the request. Another accused, businessman Zithulele Mkhize had addressed the court himself as he has not arranged payment for a legal representative either.
Following a request by defence advocate Jimmy Howse, the court has ordered that the trial will be heard in Durban. The trial is due to get underway on the 18th of July.
VIDEO: Zandile Gumede court case update with Simphiwe Makhanya