Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Durban - Mthunzi Gumede, the spokesperson for eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede, has slammed suggestions by colleagues that he has "disappeared" from City Hall after a task team from the Hawks questioned him as part of an ongoing investigation into political killings in the province.

He said the allegations of him disappearing were nothing but "rumour mongering".

This after the Daily News reported this week that Gumede was recently questioned by the interministerial task team investigating political killings in KwaZulu-Natal, apparently in connection with the murder of uMlazi councillor, Sibusiso Maphumulo.

Maphumulo, 32, was shot and killed on November 18

The team, comprising members of units in the security cluster, was set up by President Cyril Ramaphosa in June 2018 to investigate political killings in the province.

Gumede and police confirmed that he was questioned by investigators.

The Daily News reported that Gumede, who was not arrested, has been away from work and had his cellphone confiscated by the task team.

Internal sources said he has since “disappeared” from city hall and that his disappearance followed his encounter with the team.

But in an emailed response to the newspaper on Tuesday, Gumede said he was celebrating his birthday and the allegations of him disappearing were untrue.

"Over the past few days there have been media reports suggesting that I have not been at work and in hiding due to investigation by the Hawks," Gumede said.

"I wish to put on record that such reports are inspired by rumour mongering and are plain baseless. I continue to serve eThekwini Municipality to ensure that there is no gap between the Mayor Cllr Zandile Gumede, members of the media and the public at large. I am at work attending to all my duties as required, I have not disappeared nor evaporated from corridors of service delivery. Allow me space to celebrate my birthday," he said.

Daily News