WATCH: Zandile Gumede’s lawyer says he expects no legal hurdles, corruption trial should go ahead July next year
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Durban – Despite grumblings by the supporters of former eThekwini mayor, Zandile Gumede, that her corruption trial has dragged on too long, her lawyer was on Tuesday morning confident that the July to September 2022 trial date would be confirmed by the presiding judge.
Speaking to Independent Media on the doorsteps of the Durban High Court before the start of the high profile corruption, money laundering and racketeering case, advocate Jay Naidoo said they expect no hurdles.
"All the documents have been exchanged, we now expect the trial dates to be confirmed and we have reserved trial dates from the July 28 to September 2022... we expect no problem today," Naidoo said about what he expects to happen in court on the day.
The drawn-out trial started in early 2019 when the Hawks pounced on Gumede and later the 19 others, accusing them of pocketing bribes after issuing a R320 million waste contract in 2017.
In its docket, the State alleges that Gumede, former city manager Sipho Nzuza and others were involved in a criminal enterprise to fleece the eThekwini metro of money.
The docket reads like a thriller, with the State having attached bank statements showing how Gumede and Nzuza, among others, allegedly received kickbacks from service providers who were roped in to collect waste.
Some of the beneficiaries of the money were allegedly Gumede’s daughter and relatives whose home renovations were allegedly funded by some of the companies that had won the contract. On Nzuza’s part, one of the winning companies allegedly footed the bill when he bought a lavish home for his mother in uMhlanga in the north of Durban.
Also speaking outside the high court on Tuesday, Ntando Khuzwayo, the spokesperson of the supporters of Gumede said they expect nothing from the State as they have been playing delaying games with the case.
"We are not expecting the court to be ready with anything today, remember that this matter has been ongoing for almost four years now, it should have been trial ready a long time ago. In fact, this trial should be done by now," Khuzwayo said.
Outside the court and in the open space across the road, Gumede’s supporters were starting to gather and show their solidarity.
Among them was loyalist Zama Sokhabase, the ANC's top figure who last week was tipped to be deputy mayor of eThekwini municipality until the position went to Philani Mavundla of ABC, and senior eThekwini municipality exco member, Nkosenhle Madlala, Bishop Sandile Ndlela and Lindani Sicwala, among others.