eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede's KZN house in Somerset Park, Umhlanga. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)

Durban - As the Hawks began sweeping raids on properties of former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, the elite crime busting unit says it is aiming to attach assets worth R250 million. 

Speaking while inside Gumede's property in Inanda, north of Durban, Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said they are also targeting properties belonging to 44 other suspects. 

Gumede, senior city councillor Mondli Mthembu and businessman Craig Poonan appeared at the Durban Commercial Crimes Court on May 14 for their alleged roles in tender fraud relating to a Durban Solid Waste (DSW) contract of over R200 million. The matter dates back to 2016.

The accused were released on R50 000 bail each.

The trio appeared just two weeks after nine other accused – some of them representing companies - appeared at the same court for their alleged roles in the same crime. They will all appear again in January.

All of the accused are facing charges of fraud, fraud by omission, corruption, contravention of the Municipal Financial Management Act, contravention of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, contravention of the Organised Crime Act and contravention of the Local Government Municipal Act.


Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi. Video: Sihle Mavuso

Gumede and Mthembu are further facing charges for contravention of the Riotous Assemblies Act for allegedly instigating an illegal gathering in April in which supporters called for the axing of city manager Sipho Nzuza, who allegedly refused to sign off on payments related to the dodgy tender.

Mulaudzi said that was a serious breach of bail conditions and could lead to the pair doing jail time. 

Video: Sihle Mavuso

On the case of the sweeping raids, Mulaudzi said the raid will involve 10 properties owned by 16 accused persons and 26 companies and 2 trusts (companies and trusts are treated as individuals) and their assets will be kept until the case is concluded. 

Political Bureau and African News Agency (ANA)