Durban — Former eThekwini Municipality mayor Zandile Gumede’s foundation said that unquestionable legal tactics in the fraud trial place an unnecessary financial burden on taxpayers.
In a statement, the Mama Zandile Gumede Foundation said that the repeated delays and “un-preparedness” of the State prosecutor not only jeopardised the accused’s right to a fair trial but also imposed a huge and unnecessary financial burden on the taxpayers.
Last week, Gumede broke down and screamed in court when the State agreed to have the case postponed to today (Monday). This was after advocate Sicelo Zungu, who is representing Mthokozisi Nojiyeza, accused number six, asked for the court to grant him postponement. Gumede screamed in frustration, saying she would rather die than live like this.
She is accused with 21 others on charges which include conspiracy to commit corruption, corruption, fraud, money laundering, racketeering, contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act and the Municipal Systems Act in a contract worth more than R300 million related to a Durban Solid Waste tender.
The long-running trial has been faced with constant delays. This led to Judge Sharmaine Balton issuing a stayed warrant of arrest for Nojiyeza after questioning his sick note.
There were also delays when State witnesses felt intimidated after there was a shooting in one of the witnesses’s homes.
Siphelele Jiyane, a spokesperson for Gumede, thanked her supporters for their prayers and unwavering support.
“Recent events in the courtroom have highlighted the ongoing challenges faced by the defence in confronting the State’s case,” he said.
Jiyane further accused State prosecutor Ashika Lucken of tactics, including reliance on unverified evidence.
“These actions raise serious concerns,” he said.
The case continues today (Monday) in the Durban High Court.
WhatsApp your views on this story to 071 485 7995.