Durban — Another session of the corruption and fraud trial involving former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede and 21 others was met with delays on Monday as one of the accused was sick and could not come to the Durban High Court.
The case also did not start on time as other defence counsel had another matter in the high court. However, the State witness – an official of the municipality – was in court but left before the matter could be postponed on record as the court session started late.
When the session started, advocate Jay Naidoo, representing Gumede and others, said accused six, Mthokozisi Nojiyeza, was sick and would not be in court. “He will be available tomorrow (Wednesday),” said Naidoo.
Nojiyeza is a former eThekwini municipality councillor. The State alleges Nojiyeza usurped the authority vested in supply chain management by participating in processes related to the appointment of sub-contractors to the main contractors of the Durban Solid Waste contract. This was in alignment with the objectives of Gumede and Mondli Michael Mthembu, a former councillor and exco member of the eThekwini municipality.
The State alleges Mthembu was the executive manager of the enterprise responsible for co-ordinating the objectives of Gumede by instructing or co-opting councillors, employees of eThekwini.
It is alleged the service providers that were the beneficiaries of the award of the DSW tender circumvented the supply chain management financial and administrative protocols of the City for the benefit of the accused entities and “persons proximate to the accused” and the political party to which he and Gumede are aligned.
Sipho Nzuza’s wife, Cynthia Nzuza, was urged by the court to urgently send documents to Legal Aid as they would meet on Friday. Cynthia fired her lawyer in the last session due to trust issues and applied to be represented by Legal Aid Her husband is the former city manager of eThekwini municipality and an accused in this matter.
All the accused are facing charges that include conspiracy to commit corruption, corruption, fraud, money laundering, racketeering, contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act and contravention of the Municipal Systems Act in a contract worth more than R300 million, relating to a Durban Solid Waste tender.
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