The corruption case against former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede and her co-accused has been postponed to 2022.
Gumede and her 21 co-accused briefly appeared at the Durban High Court in KwaZulu-Natal for pre-trial proceedings on Tuesday.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Natasha Kara said the matter had been postponed to March next year.
Kara said the state was ready for trial, however, some of the legal representatives advised that they would be making additional requests for further particulars.
“The court then advised that all requests for further particulars be submitted timeously to allow the state to respond by 14 February 2022.
“The matter was thus postponed to 29-30 March 2022 for these requests and the state’s response thereto. The matter will next appear in court 12 of the Durban Magistrates Court as the Durban High Court will be under renovation early next year,” Kara said in a statement on Tuesday.
She added that the trial could possibly start on 18 July 2022.
The accused face 2,793 counts of fraud, corruption, racketeering and the contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) linked to the Durban Solid Waste (DSW) contract amounting to more than R430 million.
The former mayor and others are accused of colluding with corporate entities and others to circumvent the outcome of the supply-chain management protocols of the municipality.
Her co-accused include former eThekwini city manager Sipho Nzuza, former supply-chain manager Sandile Ngcobo, and ANC councillor Mondli Mthembu, as well as five private entities.
Gumede allegedly directly or indirectly received R2,8 million in kickbacks from service providers who won an irregular DSW tender in 2017.
The payments all took place while Gumede was still mayor of Durban and she did not disclose them to the municipality as required by law.
The former mayor is accused of using her political status to influence the appointment of senior eThekwini personnel responsible for supply-chain management, as well as legal matters and human resources.
She is also accused of giving instructions to the bid specification committee (BSC), bid adjudication committee (BAC) and the bid evaluation committee (BEC), despite the fact that mayors are not allowed to be involved in tender specification processes.
She has denied the allegations against her.
In October 2019, the Hawks and Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) swooped in on the fraud, corruption and money-laundering accused, seizing various homes and luxury cars.
Among the 10 properties the AFU and Hawks seized was the plush Prestondale residence of Gumede’s co-accused Hlenga Sibisi.