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R300m Durban Solid Waste tender: You facilitated 'racketeering', Gumede's lawyer tells witness


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R300m Durban Solid Waste tender: You facilitated 'racketeering', Gumede's lawyer tells witness

Former eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede
Former eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede

22nd November 2023

By: News24Wire


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Zandile Gumede's lawyer has told a senior eThekwini Durban Solid Waste (DSW) official he perpetuated racketeering contracts allegedly initiated by some of the main accused in the criminal trial.

On Tuesday, advocate Jay Naidoo for Gumede engaged in his second day of cross-examining the senior official – who was in a key leadership position in the city during some of the alleged crimes – in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban.


The senior official maintained he had to sign off on the contracts because the city was facing national elections and the busy period between December 2018 and July 2019.

He said in previous years, particularly in 2017, the city faced illegal dumping, protests, and the burning of bin trucks for failing to collect refuse.


Naidoo spent a lengthy amount of time establishing the initial stages of the four contractors that were appointed around December 2017, which form part of the corruption charges.

The court heard after the initial four contracts were established in December 2017 and initiated by the head of special projects and fourth accused, Robert Abbu, it continued for six months until 30 June 2018.

When the senior official returned to work after three months of leave at the end of June 2018, the contracts were about to expire.

He said he discovered an official, who was acting in his position, had sought additional funding for the contracts, this despite a budget deficit at DSW.

The senior official added he was unsure where the funds came from, just that they had not come from DSW.

'You facilitated racketeering'

Naidoo put it to the senior official after he returned to work at the end of June 2018, he was back in his official duty as head of the DSW unit.

"That means that every payment you signed off on was you facilitating racketeering," he said.

The senior official denied this, saying budgets were signed off for and sought for 1 July to 31 December 2018 by the city manager at the time and third accused, Sipho Nzuza.

He added: "It is difficult for me to understand the assertion that I'm part of racketeering. When I got back from leave, I considered these contracts binding and legal."

The senior official insisted while he signed off on payments, the four contractors were initiated by special projects, the department in his unit headed by Abbu.

Signing off on payments for 2019

Naidoo then told the senior official he had complained about the initial stages of establishing the contractors, but "seemingly did nothing" to get rid of them afterwards.

He said the senior official even "continued racketeering" after renewing their contracts for DSW at the end of 2018.

"You went on to extend their contracts from December 2018 to 30 June 2019. You were happy to use the same contractors.

"So, the extension from December to June was not a consequence of special projects [Abbu's department], but because you motivated for it."

The senior official said even though he signed off on contracts and payments, the decision to extend the four contracts was collective.

"It was impractical to start a new process. Some believed that if the head of special projects [Abbu] hadn't appointed these contractors, we would not have pursued a second round of contracts.

"It was in the best interest of council to continue with them."

Naidoo hit back, again suggesting the senior official was also party to racketeering.

"If special projects initiated these contracts, then at some point, it was taken over by DSW."

Gumede and her 21 co-accused are charged with fraud and corruption related to allegedly inflated R320-million DSW contracts.

The State is also attempting to prove racketeering charges where it alleged it identified a criminal enterprise run by Gumede, former ANC councillor Mondli Mthembu, Nzuza, Abbu and Sandile Ngcobo, the top five accused.

They allegedly used four companies for more than 36 months to siphon the monies to preferred contractors and political groups, including the MKMVA. 


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