Former President Jacob Zuma has thrown his weight behind Zandile
Gumede, the eThekwini Mayor who faces charges of corruption and fraud.
South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation,
better known as The Hawks, swooped down on Gumede’s mayoral office last week. A
prolonged confrontation ensued and, eventually, Gumede handed herself over to
the law enforcement agency. On Tuesday, the mayor appeared in the Durban
Commercial Crimes Court, charged with corruption, racketeering and fraud.
Corruption charges against Zandile Gumede
The bulk of the charges levelled against Gumede stem for a
R25 million tender deal which became the focus of an in-depth criminal investigation
in December. This dubious tender was granted for the provision of 800 chemical
toilets. In addition to the cost being grossly overpriced – the tender
agreement was marred by impropriety, which, The Hawks say, benefitted the mayor
The embattled mayor has also been implicated in other
suspicion government tender agreements – some totalling R208 million – most of
them connected to waste management in the Durban area.
Gumede was granted R50 000 bail last Tuesday and promptly returned to her office, despite fierce political and public outrage emanating from her alleged malfeasance. The mayor is due to return to court in August.
Jacob Zuma supports Zandile Gumede, “hopes it is not politically motivated”
I shall show Comrade Zandile Gumede the same support that she has shown me for the past decade. Be strong my Leader, this too shall pass.
— Jacob G Zuma (@PresJGZuma) May 19, 2019
Zuma’s unflinching support for Gumede, announced via his infamous Twitter account, comes at a coincidental time.
On Monday, the former president returns to court to face his
own charges of corruption. Zuma is hoping to extend his stay of prosecution,
which, if successful, will effectively scrap all charges relating to the notorious
Jacob Zuma has remained resolute in the face of defeat. The court case, which has dragged on for 16 years, is, according to Zuma, a ‘politically motivated attack’. The former president pointed out the parallels between Gumede’s situation and his own, saying:
“I have sadly learned that Comrade Zandile Gumede has been charged with corruption. I hope it is not politically motivated and that the state has enough evidence to substantiate this charge.
I speak from experience from my own politically motivated charges.”
Msholozi added that he would support Gumede throughout her
impending legal battle, saying:
“I shall show Comrade Zandile Gumede the same support that she has shown me for the past decade. Be strong my Leader, this too shall pass.”