Ethekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede and Mondli Mthembu outside the court after the appearance in the Regional Commercial Crimes Court 10 in Durban. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)

Durban - Beleaguered eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede says that she will not allow the eThekwini Municipality to fall into the wrong hands because there were people drooling at the possibility of taking over the running of the city. 

Gumede was addressing hundreds of her supporters outside the Durban Commercial Crimes Court after her appearance on charges relating to fraud charges in connection with a R208 million Durban Solid Waste (DSW) tender. 

“We will not allow this eThekwini Municipality to fall into the wrong hands, which is why we as the branches of the ANC in eThekwini, should remain resolute and strong and ensure that our municipality continues being what is supposed to be, because there are those who are salivating at the prospect of taking over it,” Gumede said. 

She also urged the media to “learn to be patient” and not to sentence her before the court has made its judgment. 

Gumede pleaded with KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala to “intervene as our leader so that the truth can come out and the people can have clean areas”. 

Gumede greeting structures of the ANC who had come out to support her as she appeared before the Durban Commercial Crimes Court. Video: Samkelo Mtshali

“We won’t allow our people to suffer because the pockets of certain people are being filled up and when we want justice and things to be done correctly, we end up getting arrested,” said a buoyant Gumede.

She also said that she and her co-accused councillor Mondli Mthembu, who chairs the municipality’s infrastructure committee, had agreed not to talk publicly about the court proceedings and were taking a leaf out of former president Jacob Zuma’s book by respecting that the matter is still sub judice. 

“Everything happens for a reason. We’ve agreed not to talk but those who were inside court heard for themselves. Nxamalala (Jacob Zuma) once said that the matter is sub judice and you can’t say you’re right or wrong because it is the court that will decide and I want us to respect that as comrades.

“The reason I want us to respect that is that it has reached a point where we like it to be because when a matter is in court, no matter what happens to you as God’s creation, lies have speed but when the truth catches up to them it also surpasses those lies,” said Gumede. 

She said she and Mthembu had simply done what the branches of the ANC sent them to do in the ANC-led eThekwini Municipality, to implement the framework for radical economic transformation, but that this had irked tthose who had previously solely benefited from the city. 

She said that they would not rest until they had told the entire country about the intricacies of the waste tender for areas such as Umlazi, Cato Crest and Cato Manor and that the court would ensure that no stone is left unturned in revealing details of that tender. 

“I would like to urge us as comrades and the community to be patient because the four months that the court has decided on is like four days because we must allow the state to do all that it needs to do, but I know that when the truth comes out everything will be sorted.” 

Political Bureau