Zandile Gumede lawyer confident of victory as corruption trial gets under way

Zandile Gumede lawyer confident of victory as corruption trial gets under way

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Durban – Despite the State having produced convincing evidence of alleged corruption against former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede and 20 others, the leader of the legal defence team of the ANC eThekwini heavyweight is confident of victory.

Advocate Jay Naidoo told the media outside the Durban High Court on Monday that Gumede, his client, has maintained her innocence from the day she was charged in April 2019.

Gumede and her co-accused, who include suspended eThekwini city manager Sipho Nzuza, former supply chain manager Sandile Ngcobo, Robert Abbu (a former eThekwini municipality senior employee) and senior ANC councillor in the eThekwini Municipality, Mondli Mthembu, are accused of corruption, money laundering and fraud.

Video: Sihle Mavuso/IOL Politics

The charges emanate from a R320 million waste contract issued by the eThekwini municipality in 2017 when Gumede was the mayor.

The State prepared a 374-page indictment. The 21 accused are facing a combined 2 786 charges. The indictment singles out nine of the 21 accused as the “main role-players“.

Addressing the media outside the same court, Ntando Khuzwayo, the eThekwini municipality councillor, who spoke on behalf of ANC branches backing the former mayor, said they expected supporters to come out in their numbers.

Khuzwayo said any further delay in the matter would be unacceptable as the case has weighed heavily on Gumede for a long time.

Video: Sihle Mavuso/IOL Politics

They expect Gumede to address her supporters after appearing in court.

The supporters have pitched up a marquee and a public address system. On the same spot, hawkers selling ANC regalia have pitched gazebos and are plying their trade, selling ANC merchandise.

By 10am, only a handful of supporters had gathered outside the court to order their moral support.

Despite that, Gumede had the support of her long-time allies and confidantes. Among them was Lindani Sicwala, Zama Sokhabase and Nkosenhle Madlala. Driving all the way from Pietermaritzburg to support Gumede was Thobani Zuma, the former deputy mayor of Msunduzi (Pietermaritzburg).

Zuma has been a prominent supporter of Gumede during her court appearances.

Today's sitting is expected to set dates for the hearing where evidence would be tabled and countered by the defence teams.

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