OUTA calls on mayor Zandile Gumede to step down
OUTA’s provincial manager for KZN, Tim Tyrrell said this matter needs to be dealt with swiftly and due to Gumede being the most senior public office bearer in the city, she should step down to clear her name.
“The leadership of the city should be above reproach. While a person is innocent until proven guilty, it is still deeply concerning that the city's first citizen is accused of being involved in such acts of criminality. Unless the mayor is able to clear her name, she should step down and put the city’s needs first, allowing her time to fight this matter in court,” said Tyrrell.
Additionally, Tyrrell said the charge sheet, seen by OUTA and placed before the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court today (14 May 2019) when the Mayor made her first appearance, reveals charges of a serious nature. Gumede and her co-accused are facing Schedule 5 Offenses. If convicted, Gumede could face imprisonment. This is a very serious matter and could be extremely damaging to the reputation of the city.
“The bail conditions are also extremely restrictive on the Mayor. It would be difficult to see just how she would be able to execute her duties of providing political oversight in line with the Municipal Finance Management Act which is the same Act she is accused of breaching,” said Tyrrell.
The bail conditions don’t allow her to communicate with officials linked to the Durban Solid Waste (DSW) audit, supply chain management, legal and financial employees as well as staff involved in operations in the administration.
Gumede is one of twelve people, including other city officials, allegedly linked to a 2016 R208 million Durban Solid Waste (DSW) tender, where service providers were allegedly paid huge amounts of money even though they did not render any service.
She was granted bail of R50 000 earlier today by the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court, along with senior municipal councillor Mondli Mthembu. Mthembu is also the chairperson of the Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee.
Gumede, along with 11 others is accused of fraud and corruption. They are accused specifically of being in contravention of:
• Sections 118, 173(4), 173(5)(a)(f) and 174 of the Municipal Finance Management Act;
• Sections 3 and 21 of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act;
• Sections 4, 5 and 6 of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act;
• Schedule 1 item 11 of the Local Government Municipal Services Act; and
• The Riotous Assemblies Act.
The charge sheet reads that “Mayor Gumede and Councillor Mthembu played a major role” and that “evidence obtained indicates that mayor Gumede influenced the appointment of senior personnel” that allegedly allowed for her to manipulate who the contract was awarded to.
It goes further as to say that Gumede and Mthembu tried to exert “political interference” to hinder what was at first an internal probe into the tender by the City Integrity and Investigation Unit (CIIU) and that “information received indicated that members of the Bid Specification Committee (BSC), Bid Evaluation Committee (BEC) and the Bid Adjudication Committee (BAC) would be instructed by Mayor Gumede and Councillor Mthembu on which companies to award tenders”.
The charge sheet reads that Mthembu and Gumede ‘consistently interfered in the operational functions and duties of employees at all levels of the administration of eThekwini by inducing previously mentioned employees to committing various unlawful acts in relation to this tender.’
Meanwhile Gumede and Mthembu are further accused of organising a protest in April 2019 against her own city manager Sipho Nzuza – who she appointed – which demanded Mr Nzuza’s removal. It is alleged Nzuza refused to make payments to those linked to the DSW tender.