South Africa, Durban – Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede received no ANC support from outside the Durban Commercial Crimes Court on Thursday.
By 9am a large white marquee stood empty with only sound technicians manning a public address system (from a mobile stage) which was playing Struggle songs.
During the previous appearance on September 10 this year, despite Covid-19 restrictions which prohibited large gatherings, about 5 000 supporters swarmed over the court’s lawn.
This time around, Gumede was only supported by a few people, including the spokesperson of her supporters, Mzomuhle Dube, and long-time confidante Lindani Sicwala.
Also present was Musa Nciki, Gumede’s running mate (he is running for the position of regional secretary under the Gumede slate) of the ANC in eThekwini. Former uMsunduzi deputy mayor Thobani Zuma was seen welcoming Gumede as she got out of the car.
Gumede and her 17 co-accused, including suspended eThekwini city manager Sipho Nzuza and his wife Bagcinele and senior ANC councillor Mondli Mthembu, face charges linked to a R430 million waste tender the eThekwini municipality issued in 2017 while she was mayor.
The State has refused to divulge its state of readiness.
KZN Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Elaine Zungu, said they would reveal that when the matter was heard in court.
“Since the last occasion, (when) we requested a postponement for the finalisation of the investigations which included in the main the forensic report, we will indicate to the court only whether or not same is finalised, on December 10,” she said.
When the matter was heard on September 10, State prosecutor Ashiken Lucken argued for a postponement before magistrate Dawn Somaroo, saying the State wanted to conclude a forensic report which was key to its case.