Supporters slam 'continued political prosecution' of Zandile Gumede
Former eThekwini Municipality mayor Zandile Gumede’s supporters say that her appearance on Friday at the Durban Magistrates Court on a charge of violation of bail conditions is part of a continued political prosecution by her political enemies.
Gumede was Friday found by the Magistrate Dawn Soomaroo not to have intentionally violated her bail conditions after the Hawks had accused her of doing so by not informing the police that she had vacated her Umhlanga home. She is set to return to court on 15 January 2020.
Her supporters say that her political detractors do not want her to contest the upcoming eThekwini ANC regional conference and were using state organs to stop her from participating in what is set to be a hotly contested conference.
Gumede, who is currently out on R50 000 bail, was hauled before the court on Friday only a day after the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) descended upon her sprawling Amawoti, Inanda, home on Thursday morning to seize assets as she faces corruption charges relating to a R230 million Durban Solid Waste tender.
On Thursday the AFU initially headed to Gumede’s previously rented Umhlanga home, which had been listed as temporary address in her bail application, only to find out that she had vacated the premises a month and a half earlier to return to her permanent residence in Inanda when she was axed as the city’s mayor.
This then became the state’s bone of contention on Friday in as it had not received communication that Gumede had changed addresses, although the court was told that by Gumede’s defence that she had informed her attorney Bulelani Mazomba of her change of address but that Mazomba had failed to inform the investigating of the change in address.
However Mzomuhle Dube, spokesperson for Gumede’s supporters, said that the raid Friday and her appearance in court on Friday were all part of a well planned strategy to stop Gumede by all means from participating in the conference in which she is seeking to be re-elected as regional chairperson, particularly with nominations set to open soon.
“If this is not a political prosecution, then what do you call it? You have uMam’ Gumede who is harassed in every other way but there are no specific charges presented before the court and until today we don’t know what is it that she must answer to,” said Dube.
Dube said Gumede’s Amawoti home is her permanent property, while she had a secondary property in Phoenix in which her children lived while the Umhlanga property had been rented in her tenure as mayor.
“When the bail application was put forward all these addresses were mentioned. The address which they (AFU) were trying to use yesterday it was noted as a temporary address, not as a permanent address,” said Dube.
He also lamented that the media had portrayed luxury sports cars, including a Lamborghini, Ferrari, Mercedes Benz AMG and an Audi RS3, as though they belonged to Gumede yet they belonged to her co-accused in the DSW tender case.
On the blunder by Mazomba, Dube: “To err is human, so it is possible that it was just an oversight that never meant any harm.”