Jacob Zuma says he’s behind Mayor who faces charges of corruption and fraud

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Jacob Zuma
Jacob Zuma

Former president, Jacob Zuma, said on Monday he was “behind” Zandile Gumede, the eThekwini Mayor who faces charges of corruption and fraud.

The South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, popularly known as The Hawks, swooped down on Gumede’s mayoral office last week. A prolonged confrontation ensued and, eventually, Gumede handed herself over to the law enforcement agency.

On Tuesday, the mayor appeared in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court, charged with corruption, racketeering and fraud.

The charges against Gumede stem from a R25 million tender deal which became the focus of an in-depth criminal investigation in December. This dubious tender was granted for the provision of 800 chemical toilets. In addition to the cost being grossly overpriced – the tender agreement was marred by impropriety, which, The Hawks say, benefitted the mayor financially.

According to The South African, the embattled mayor has also been implicated in other suspicion government tender agreements – some totalling R208 million – most of them connected to waste management in the Durban area.

Gumede was granted R50 000 bail last Tuesday and promptly returned to her office, despite fierce political and public outrage emanating from her alleged malfeasance. The mayor is due to return to court in August.

In a tweet from Zuma’s twitter handle, he suggested the charges against Gumede might be politically motivated.

“I have sadly learned that Comrade Zandile Gumede has been charged with corruption. I hope it is not politically motivated and that the state has enough evidence to substantiate this charge. I speak from experience from my own politically motivated charges.”

In another tweet he vowed to show unflinching support to the embattled Mayor .

“I shall show Comrade Zandile Gumede the same support that she has shown me for the past decade. Be strong my Leader, this too shall pass”

The former President himself will on Monday return to court to face his own charges of corruption. Zuma is hoping to extend his stay of prosecution, which, if successful, will effectively scrap all charges relating to the notorious arm’s deal during his tenure as the president.

The former President has remained resolute in the face of defeat. The court case, which has dragged on for 16 years, is, according to Zuma, a ‘politically motivated attack’.

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