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Wife of former eThekwini city manager axes her lawyer in DSW corruption trial

The former eThekwini city manager Sipho Nzuza's wife Bagcinele Nzuza. Picture : Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

The former eThekwini city manager Sipho Nzuza's wife Bagcinele Nzuza. Picture : Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Oct 3, 2023


Durban — The wife of Sipho Nzuza, the former city manager of eThekwini Municipality, is now representing herself in the racketeering, corruption and money laundering trial after firing her attorney.

Bagcinile Cynthia Nzuza is the ninth accused in this matter which involves her husband, as well as Zandile Gumede, the former mayor of eThekwini, and others.

Bagcinile told the Durban High Court on Monday that she was firing her attorney because of issues relating to finance and trust. She said she had applied for legal aid.

She told Judge Sharmaine Balton that the issue was that her attorney, Busani Ngcongo, had invoiced her for more than the amount agreed upon to represent her. Judge Balton said the court did indicate in its last session that it would not entertain such issues and that she would either have to solve her issues with Ngcongo or represent herself.

“I can stand down for a few minutes and give you a chance to solve your issues with your attorney,” she said.

However, Bagcinile said she was going to represent herself. Moreover, she told the court that she had applied for legal aid in June but she did not qualify. However, they are willing to help her. She said legal aid had asked to be given four weeks and she agreed to represent herself in the meantime.

Judge Balton then released Ngcongo and accepted his application to withdraw from representing Bagcinile.

The court received a medical report from accused 21 Sithamone Ponnan, who has been put on bed rest by her doctor because she is ill. Her attorney said they had sent someone to observe the case for her as she is watching virtually.

The witness, who is a retired municipal official and had caused delays because of being ill in the last session, is back on the stand. The witness told the court they would plan an annual budget for components that would be needed on the issuing of the tender for solid waste, things like how many cars would be needed, the budget for the equipment and illegal dumping.

The accused in this matter 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 worth more than R300 million relating to a Durban Solid Waste tender.

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