SUSPENDED eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede shown in a file photo attending an ANC conference. BONGANI MBATHA African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - Just hours before embattled Durban mayor, Zandile Gumede, is due to appear in court, it has emerged that the lead investigator in the case has survived an assassination attempt. 

Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) national spokesperson, Brigadier Hangwani Malaudzi, confirmed that the investigator was wounded during a shooting in Germiston, east of Johannesburg, last week. 

In an interview with the SABC, Malaudzi said the man had been shot by an unknown gunman outside his home. It is not clear what the motive for the shooting was. 

Malaudzi declined to confirm in the shooting was a hit on the investigator's life. 

Describing it as "an attack", Malaudzi said the man was accosted last Friday and survived the attack. 

He said the investigation was at a sensitive stage and they were working with detectives. Malaudzi said based on the events that recently transpired, the Hawks national head has taken a decision to make sure that the security surrounding the task team, is heightened.

Malaudzi said the Hawks were aware, from the beginning that they needed to ensure that witnesses in the case against Gumede, were adequately protected.

He said protection will be provided as and when needed. 

He added that the matter was still under investigation. 

Gumede and her co-accused are set to appear in court on Thursday on charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering in relation to a multi-million rand Durban Solid Waste tender. 

Gumede was placed on special leave by the ANC in June.

Reacting to the news, DA Caucus leader in eThekwini Nicole Graham, asked when President Cyril Ramaphosa will intervene.

The Mercury