Embattled Zandile Gumede seeks to get off on a technicality 

Corruption-charged former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede might get off on a technicality should the legal arguments by her lawyer Jay Naidoo hold water. 

Gumede is accused of leading and running a clandestine operation during her tenure as the political head of the only metro in KwaZulu-Natal.

She is accused number one in what has become known as the Durban Solid Waste tender in which more than R300-million was apparently fraudulently awarded to handpicked contractors.

The tender was for the collection of refuse in various townships and the inner city, as well as conducting cleaning campaigns.

The programme fell under the radical economic transformation which Gumede and his cohorts in the metro council adopted as policy, and was meant to benefit emerging black-owned enterprises.

However, it became a frenzy for political cronies. 

Naidoo believes the company which conducted a forensic probe that recommended Gumede be probed for fraud and tender irregularities was itself not properly appointed.

He told judge Sharmaine Balton who is presiding over the matter at the high court in Durban that key state witness, Mbuso Ngcobo, went on a personal crusade without being sanctioned when he instituted the probe.

Naidoo said Ngcobo also broke the rules of engagement pertaining to reporting and accountability. 

Ngcobo, who is the head of the metro’s investigation and integrity unit, lifted the lid on the alleged fraudulent operation when he received a tip-off from a whistleblower who apparently dropped the incriminating documents detailing the alleged fraud.  

Gumede, former city manager Sipho Nzuza, former executive committee member Mondli Mthembu, Robert Abbu, the former deputy head of Durban Solid Waste, and Sandile Ngcobo, the deputy head of the metro’s supply chain are accused of working in cahoots to siphon money from the city’s coffers. 

The trial continues… 

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