The municipality of eThekwini has warned residents about an alleged crowd-funding scam doing the rounds requesting money to help Mayor Zandile Gumede pay her legal fees.
In mid-2019, Gumede, along with Mondli Mthembu and Craig Poonan, was charged with graft in relation to a R208 million contract with Durban Solid Waste.
Graft is when a public official acquires goods or services from a specific company, usually one they have a vested private interest in, for way above what would be considered a fair market rate.
She is currently on a leave of absence, forced by the African National Congress after her arrest and release on bail.
There have been strong indications that she may not be reappointed as mayor once the leave expires.
All of these factors have come together to create the perfect plausible storm for scammers to take advantage of Gumede’s supporters in the province.
They have been going around telling residents that the mayor is in need of financial assistance in order to pay for her legal fees.
While there is no clear proof of the scam as yet, the eThekwini municipality felt the need to warn residents and begin an investigation based purely off the volume of rumours pertaining to this particular scam.
“The municipality would like to warn residents that mayor Gumede has not asked for such donations and is not part of the scheme,” the statement read.
“This is a scam and anyone who is approached by these unscrupulous individuals must report the matter to the nearest police station.
“We are investigating these rumours and have not yet received any solid evidence of anyone being scammed. We don’t know who is behind this or who these people are.”
It has come to the Municipality’s attention that a group of scammers are allegedly randomly approaching people, requesting for donations towards eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede’s legal costs.
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— eThekwini Muni (@eThekwiniM) June 25, 2019