Zandile Gumede says she wants a fair trial

Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede. File Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/Independent Newspapers

Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede. File Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/Independent Newspapers

Published May 24, 2024


By Zohra Teke

ANC eThekwini Chairperson Zandile Gumede has hit back at reports that city officials are protecting her as she fights her corruption charges.

"I don't go to city hall, I don't speak to anyone there, or attend any eThekwini Municipality functions for the past six months, maybe more. I don't even know the people that have been appointed since I'm no longer there, yet I'm accused of controlling them. Why can't I get a fair trial instead of trial by media?" Gumede told IOL.

Gumede was responding to media reports that accused eThekwini Municipality manager Musa Mbhele and others of 'derailing' her corruption case.

However, Gumede has denied this, saying she has not even spoken to Mbhele in over six months and has no knowledge of the people named.

Gumede and 20 others are fighting corruption charges over a 2016 solid waste tender worth R320 million. The case is expected to resume on Monday.

Speaking exclusively to IOL, 63-year-old Gumede said she wanted the matter to move faster so that she can tell her side of the story.

Despite the charges, Gumede has maintained her position as Member of the Provincial Legislature in KZN and was brought on board the ANC's election campaign trail in KZN.

"I've been accused, not found guilty, so there's no reason for me not to campaign for my party. I'm a disciplined member of the ANC, I work very hard for my community, and people in my community will testify to that. I feel these allegations of me working with people in the Municipality and all that are just to discredit me, but it's fine, they can say what they want, the legal process is what is important. It's just unfortunate that I am being tried by the media instead of them allowing justice to take its course. What happened to innocent until proven guilty?," added Gumede.

On the election outcome and possible defeat of the ANC, Gumede would not be drawn into any speculation. "Everyone can forecast, predict whatever. In the end, it's only God who knows. So let's wait and see. I don't want to comment on this until then, but what I want to say is we need to respect each other. We must respect even other parties. We can't be talking about each other in a negative way, criticising each other, and then after elections, we are talking coalition. Let us approach elections without mudslinging," she quipped.