By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
After almost two years of dithering and nearly collapsing one of the most high profile corruption cases, the State has finally charged former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede and her 20 co-accused in the matter which they were arrested for in April 2019.
On Tuesday Gumede and her co-accused accused appeared before the Durban Commercial Crimes Court and Magistrate Dawn Somaroo moved their case to the Durban High court for a pre-trial hearing with the first sitting billed for June 14 this year.
The magistrate told the accused that their bail has been extended and they should now report to the High Court instead of the regional court.
When the case started it was expected the state should serve the indictment or have the matter struck off the roll.
The value of the waste tender which was issued in 2017 while Gumede was mayor, has been revised down to R320 million (excluding VAT).
State prosecutor, Ashiken Lucken told the court that they have done their work, indicting Gumede mainly with fraud, corruption and money laundering.
That is contained in a 374-page indictment. In total, all the 21 accused are facing 2786 charges - combined.
The indictment reads like a thriller, singling out 9 of the 21 accused as the "main role players".
Among the role players is Gumede, suspended eThekwini city manager, Sipho Nzuza, former supply chain manager, Sandile Ngcobo, Robert Abbu (former eThekwini municipality senior employee) and senior ANC councillor, Mondli Mthembu.
The State alleges that while Ngcobo knew that there were irregularities, he allowed them to happen. Furthermore, it said the main role players were in constant contact via their cellphones.
The corruption case against Gumede and her co-accused has now been moved to the Durban High Court.