Ethekwini mayor Zandile Gumede. African News Agency (ANA) Archive.

Durban - eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede's bail conditions set out by the Durban Special Commercial Crime Court prevent her from interacting with all the heads of departments in the city.

As calls grow for her resignation her detractors, including the ANCYL in the eThekwini are using bail conditions as ammunition for her to vacate her powerful position.

The Hawks’ National Clean Audit Task Team’s investigation at the municipality into a R208 million DSW tender revealed that service providers were allegedly paid huge amounts even though they did not render any service.

Sixteen people, including suppliers and senior eThekwini staff, have been arrested and charged.

On Tuesday Gumede, councillor Mondli Mthembu and service provider Craig Ponnan appeared in court. 

The other accused include eThekwini deputy head of strategy and new development Robert Abbu, 62, supply chain manager Sandile Ngcobo, 41, and several contractors. They were also released on R50 000 bail each.

They are charged with fraud, corruption, and contraventions of the Municipal Finance Management Act, the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, and contravention of the Riotous Assemblies Act.

Gumede and Mthembu were released on strict bail conditions. 

They have to hand in their passports and not to apply for any travel documents. 

They must not to leave the province of KwaZulu-Natal without informing the investigating officer.

Magistrate Dawn Somaroo warned them not to contact or communicate in any way with witnesses, not to communicate with anyone on the audit trail and not interfere directly or indirectly with the operations of the eThekwini. 

Gumede and Mthembu must refrain from any involvement in the city operations.

"Her duties will involve giving guidance and not to interfere with admin duties and the heads of department.She must refrain from taking disciplinary action on officials implicated,"Somaroo said. 

Advocate Jay Naidoo who was representing Gumede said she had no previous convictions or cases pending against her. 

He said she would adhere to the bail conditions and not compromise the integrity of the investigation. 

Somaroo asked Naidoo why Gumede should not be given bail of R100 000. 

Naidoo said that the court should keep the bail amounts consistent with the other accused. It was more reasonable and affordable. 

Mthembu's lawyer S.Cele said he could only afford R15000 bail because Mthembu earned approximately R40000 per month as a PR councillor. 

Ponnan was also asked to hand in his passport and not to apply for any travel documents until the investigations were complete. The court ordered that he must not speak to any municipality officials,  not contact anyone from the supply chain management, DSW, eThekwini finance or visit their offices.

By Wednesday morning he had to inform the court and the investigating officer who he will appoint as a liasion between him and the municipality. 

Gumede, Mthembu and Ponnan were released on R50 000 bail each.

All accused will appear in the Durban Regional Court on August 8.

"The bail conditions will have no impact on service delivery to communities and there is no reason for residents to panic," said municipal Spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela. 

Gumede is also the Chairperson of the Infrastructure Committee in the city. 
"The Municipality abides by the legal principle of innocent until proven otherwise. The Municipality will not comment further on the matter as it is now before the courts," Mayisela said. 

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