Witness booked off sick in Zandile Gumede and co-accused case

Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede at the Durban High Court. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo

Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede at the Durban High Court. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo

Published Mar 17, 2023


Durban — The Durban High Court on Thursday postponed the case against the former mayor of eThekwini Municipality Zandile Gumede and 21 others after it learnt that the first State witness, Mbuso Ngcobo, who is the head of eThekwini’s City Integrity and Investigations Unit (CIIU) is sick and has been booked off sick until Wednesday.

Gumede and her 21 co-accused face more than 2 000 charges, including conspiracy to commit corruption, corruption, fraud, money laundering, racketeering, contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act and contravention of the Municipal Systems Act amounting to more than R300 million concerning a big Durban solid-waste tender.

The cross-examination of Ngcobo by defence lawyer advocate Jay Naidoo was expected to resume on Thursday morning. However, this did not happen as the court announced in the morning that the matter was adjourned to 2pm.

There were already questions asked about the witness’s whereabouts as he was nowhere to be seen. When the court sat at 2pm the hearing was told it would continue on Friday and confirmed that it had received a medical certificate from Ngcobo.

It is unclear how the court would continue on Friday, but the State said it would bring in two witnesses.

Naidoo had been quizzing Ngcobo on procedures that were taken to investigate the tender irregularities and how the forensics company, Investigative Forensic Services (IFS) was appointed to do the investigation.

Moreover, on Wednesday Naidoo claimed that the CIIU had gone about the investigation the wrong way.

Naidoo said according to the procedures and policies of the municipality, the disciplinary board had to be notified about the investigation. But Ngcobo said when there was a complaint they could not alert people inside as to where the problem might be. The court will not sit on Monday because of uncertainy over the national shutdown and will resume on Wednesday.

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