OUTA salutes the courage of Ethekwini Metro whistleblowers
OUTA’s KZN division recognises the extraordinary courage it took for whistleblowers within the eThekwini Metro to come forward, as their bravery has ultimately led to criminal charges being laid against Mayor Zandile Gumede.
“We recognise that there are people within the Metro who stand for what is right. These people, who believe in transparency, the rule of law and clean governance, were part of an internal investigation through the City Integrity and Investigation Unit (CIIU). This in turn led to an investigation by the National Clean Audit Task Team based within the Directorate for Priority Investigations Directorate, also known as the Hawks. This ultimately led to criminal charges being laid against Mayor Zandile Gumede. We cannot emphasise enough how brave these witnesses were. Such acts of selflessness benefit the city residents and for that, we join all law-abiding residents in saluting you,” said OUTA KZN provincial manager, Tim Tyrrell.
During Gumede’s first appearance at the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Tuesday this week, State Prosecutor Ashika Lucken told Magistrate Dawn Soomaroo that various witnesses are likely known to Gumede as they work within the municipality in various capacities. According to Lucken, arrests were expediated to protect these witnesses from intimidation.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) believes there is now a moral imperative facing eThekwini Metro’s elected councillors to also take a stand against the leadership of Mayor Zandile Gumede. “There are mechanisms at the disposal of the 219 elected officials to take a position regarding the status of Mayor Gumede. One such option is the Local Government Municipal Structures Act that allows for a motion to be put before council to vote for the removal of the Mayor. We call on the elected officials to recognise the courage of those within its own ranks who have put the people first and uncovered what appears to be nearly a quarter of a billion-rand tender racket. We urge the councillors to take a stand against corruption and be a part of the ‘New Dawn’” said Tyrrell.
A full council meeting of the eThekwini Metro is expected to sit at 10am on the 30th of May 2019, where it is hoped this matter will be tabled.
Tyrrell earlier this week called on Mayor Gumede to step down pending the finalisation of her criminal charges, and urged the ANC KZN Provincial Executive Committee to implement its 26 March 2019 special meeting resolutions. The latter clearly states that senior leaders should step down if they face serious criminal charges.
Next week, OUTA KZN is expected to pursue further channels to help persuade the city’s councillors to take a position on Gumede.
Gumede, along with 11 others are accused of being involved in a questionable R208-million tender involving the city’s sanitation department, Durban Solid Waste (DSW).
These transgressions include the 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.