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eThekwini branches back Gumede for chair

African National Congress (ANC) eThekwini branches aligned to the party’s KwaZulu-Natal member of the provincial legislature and former eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede insist that she will emerge victorious as the party’s regional chairperson when an elective congress sits later this year.

Gumede and 21 others face fraud, corruption and money laundering charges linked to tender fraud amounting to a revised figure of R320 million.

The accused appeared in the Specialised Durban Commercial Court on Tuesday where the matter was transferred to the Durban High Court. The first sitting is set for 14 June this year.

Ntando Khuzwayo, who is the spokesperson for ANC branches aligned to Gumede, said the case against the former mayor and others was a political witch-hunt aimed at curtailing her chances of being re-elected as the ANC’s eThekwini regional chairperson.

“This was solely created so it takes her off as chairperson of the region and also as mayor of eThekwini. Now that has happened, those people have achieved part of what they want. But what they are trying to do now is stop her from contesting the upcoming elective conference because we are conference ready now,” noted Khuzwayo.

However, the state begs to differ.

In an indictment, the National Prosecuting Authority alleges that Gumede improperly interfered with the appointment of service providers in the eThekwini Municipality and thus broke the law.

The state said she unduly benefited to the tune of R2.9 million after alleged tender fraud.

According to the NPA, her actions also benefited the governing party, its councillors and structures such as the MKMVA. -EWN