Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede maintains her innocence following a raid of her home by the Hawks and Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU), and will still be contesting the position of ANC eThekwini chair at the region’s upcoming elective conference.
Speaking to eNCA, draped in what appears to be some kind of faux-fur scarf, and seated next to a large painting of herself, Gumede described the pain she felt upon being raided.
“It’s painful, but what can we do. The only thing we can do is comply if such things happen but it’s really, really painful, because I wasn’t aware. I was sleeping and we did not have electricity because of wind and rain,” she said.
“In the morning I was woken up by one of my daughters telling me the Hawks were on their way to my house in Inanda.”
Gumede, who has made it clear she thinks the raid’s motives were political in nature as part of an alleged plan to stop her getting a second term as ANC eThekwini chair, continued: “I just want to say lies have got short legs.”
She then said that she was too poor for the Hawks to have seized anything significant.
“They came, they asked for Lamborghinis … only to find the one car that is active that I am using, and two cars that are not active because I am supposed to … one is by the mechanic and one is here,” she said.
“I don’t have luxurious cars, I’m poor as a church mouse as you know, you have been here, you know my house and there is nothing like that, and that’s why they have to go back empty-handed.”
While several luxury vehicles were seized on Thursday, including a Lamborghini, Porsches, a Mercedes Benz, an Audi, a Land Rover and Jaguars, these were later determined to belong to Gumede’s co-accused, rather than to her.
However, while her spokesperson Mzomuhle Dube said that “no assets” had been seized and that Gumede “doesn’t live in opulence”, Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi confirmed that her home was seized in the raid.
Gumede said that while the “law is the law”, she feels it “must not be used against some members of the African National Congress”.
“It is important that if we are having any differences we sit down and talk about those differences… For now, I feel so bad because this saga is happening in this space where we are [heading towards this] conference.”
The raid saw the Hawks and AFU raid ten homes, seeking assets to the value of approximately R51 million from various of the accused in the Durban Solid Waste (DSW) scandal.
Gumede stands accused, along with other members of the eThekwini municipality, of having colluded with corporate entities and others to circumvent the outcome of the supply chain management protocols of the municipality, in favour of the award of new DSW contracts, which led to four corporate entities getting paid over R230 million by February 2019.
eNCA reported earlier on Friday that Gumede is expected to appear in court on Friday after the Hawks accused her of violating her bail conditions due to her failure to inform the police that she had moved from the Umhlanga house that was raided yesterday, and which was listed in her bail application as her home address.
Gumede posted bail of R50,000 following her arrest together with councillor Mondli Mthembu, Sandile Ngcobo, and Robert Abbu.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman.)