OUTA welcomes Hawks, AFU seizure of Gumede's assets.
The early morning raids by the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) to seize assets owned by former eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede and her co-accused, is welcomed by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA). However, OUTA is concerned over media suggestions that Gumede might have broken her bail conditions.
OUTA KZN provincial manager Tim Tyrrell said the raids send a clear message that the State is serious about fighting corruption.
“We believe this seizure operation should have happened shortly after Gumede and her co-accused were arrested in May 2019 as they may have since disposed of assets. However, the action by the AFU is still welcomed. If the assets seized were bought with stolen tax-payers’ money, then taxpayers deserve to get their money back in the event of a guilty verdict.”
Gumede and 11 others were charged on multiple counts of fraud for their alleged role in a waste collection tender racket in excess of R200-million. The AFU operation, supported by the Hawks, was mandated to secure more than R50-million in assets ranging from property to luxury vehicles.
“It is concerning that media reports suggest Gumede was also in breach of her bail conditions, having not informed the court that she had moved since her arrest in May. She should not be given special treatment if this bail infringement is found to be true and should receive the required sanction,” said Tyrrell.
Tyrrell said it is now up to the National Prosecuting Authority to present a strong case and obtain a guilty verdict. “Otherwise the authority will run the risk of serious embarrassment as has been the case in previous high-profile matters.”