Zuma shows support for embattled corruption-accused Durban mayor Gumede

Former president Jacob Zuma has vowed to show under-fire eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede “the same support that she has shown me for the past decade”.

In tweets on Sunday night, former president Jacob Zuma said he had learnt with sadness about the arrest on corruption charges of eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede.

He said he would show her the same support she had shown him over the past decade and reiterated his conviction that he has been pursued for political reasons, not criminal ones.

“I hope that 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.”

The corruption case against Zuma is set to be heard again on Monday, with his lawyers asking for a permanent stay of prosecution.

The mayor of the eThekwini metro faces fraud and racketeering charges. She handed herself over to the Hawks on Tuesday morning and was granted R50,000 bail.

The former president told her: “Be strong my Leader, this too shall pass.”

He said he hoped the charges were “not politically motivated and that the state has enough evidence to substantiate this charge”.

“I speak from experience from my own politically motivated charges,” he tweeted.

The reference to the alleged political motivation behind the charges echoed comments made by her supporters, who marched to the Durban city hall on Friday.

On Monday, Zuma is expected to appear in the high court in Pietermaritzburg in relation to decade old charges related to the controversial Arms Deal. The court is due to deal with an application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

Gumede is also the chairperson of the ANC eThekwini region, and is in the dock with co-accused ANC councillor Mondli Mthembu and businessman Craig Poonan.

They have been charged in connection with tender fraud for a 2016 Durban Solid Waste (DSW) contract for which the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) says no work was done. The tender was for R208 million.

Several other people were arrested two weeks ago for their alleged role in the same case. All of the suspects were released on bail and will appear in court again in August.

It was revealed in court on Tuesday that several of the whistle-blowers in the case against Gumede came from within the municipality. The state said its case against the mayor was expedited to protect witnesses from possible intimidation.


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