Former eThekwini mayor, Zandile 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 goal posts. 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.
Gumede back in court: