Fresh evidence emerges during Zandile Gumede corruption trial

Zandile Gumede former mayor of eThekwini municipality with her spokesperson Sphelele Jiyane and supporters outside Durban High Court. Picture: Nomonde Zondi

Zandile Gumede former mayor of eThekwini municipality with her spokesperson Sphelele Jiyane and supporters outside Durban High Court. Picture: Nomonde Zondi

Published Nov 29, 2023


Durban — In the last session for the year, the Durban High Court learnt that the four contractors who were collecting waste did not determine the amount of money they were going to charge for collecting waste dumped illegally around the city.

This was heard in the corruption, fraud and racketeering trial of former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede and 21 others.

They are facing charges which include conspiracy to commit corruption, corruption, fraud, money laundering, racketeering, and contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act, and of the Municipal Systems Act, in relation to a R300 million DSW contract.

During cross-examination of the State witness, who is a former City official, advocate Devin Moodley representing accused No 18 Craig Ponnan, 19 Prabagaran Pariah, 20 EL Shaddai Holdings Group CC, 21 Sithamone Ponnan and 22 Umvuyo Holdings CC, asked the witness about who identified the illegal dumping between the contractor and the City.

Furthermore, the witness had told the court that the amount charged by the contractors for illegal dumping was of concern.

The State witness, who has been calm on the stand since July 31, said a cleansing officer would identify materials that were illegally dumped and contact the relevant contractors of that area.

“They would meet in that area with the contractor and the cleansing officer would be the one to determine the amount to be charged for the illegal dumping. The officer would fill in the field sheet,” said the witness.

Moodley asked the witness if he agrees that the contractor has no say or cannot manipulate the payment of illegal dumping. The witness replied and said: “It’s an internal process.”

Advocate Willie Lombard, representing accused No 13 Zithulele Mkhize and No 14, his company Uzuzinekele Trading 31cc, which is one of the four main contractors that allegedly defrauded the municipality, asked the witness if he had received complaints about the company not collecting waste. The witness said no.

“I can’t confirm that accused 13 and 14 did not do the work of collecting waste around the city, it was not reported to me,” he said.

The witness further confirmed that there was no period where Mkhize posed a threat to the workers of the municipality or to him.

“It has never been reported,” said the witness.

After the cross-examination was finished, Judge Sharmaine Balton asked the State if it wanted to re-examine, but State prosecutor Ashika Lucken asked the court for more time.

“My lady, I am not in a position to re-examine right now because there have been a lot of exhibits submitted by my learned friends,” she said.

Lucken said she would only need a day to do her re-examination in January next year. However, Judge Balton was not happy about this and lectured the State for not being prepared.

“I hope this is the last time you ask for this. You are a team of three, I want everybody to be prepared in my court,” said Judge Balton.

The next session would commence in January.

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