The Democratic Alliance in EThekwini says the shooting of a key witness in the R320 million fraud and corruption case against former Mayor Zandile Gumede reeks of criminal syndicates.
The case which has been set down to be heard till mid August, was postponed on Monday when a key witness failed to appear in court.
The witness- a municipal employee in the solid waste department- was attacked on Saturday morning when shots were fired through her bedroom window. Luckily no one was injured. She has however requested for time to compose herself before returning to the stand.
DA eThekwini leader Thabani Mthethwa has condemned the attack on witness.
“The DA strongly condemns this incident which appears to be a threat and intimidation tactic by criminals who might be attempting to prevent the witness from providing crucial evidence in this multimillion heist”, says Mthethwa.
With witnesses now fearing for their life police have said they are putting I’m measures to ensure all the witnesses safety.
“We call upon enhanced witness protection on this case so that witnesses can freely provide sufficient evidence to ensure there is successful prosecution on this matter and the case serve as an example to those who are hell bent on looting our city at the expense of service delivery.”
Gumede is charged with 21 other co-accused including former municipal manager Sipho Nzuza, his wife Cynthia Nzuza and senior councillors and faces nearly three thousand charges.
Gumede allegedly flouted tender processes and irregularly awarded the Durban Solid Waste contract for waste removal and street clean up in township.
She is alleged to have received almost R3million in kickbacks between January 2017 and July 2019. Gumede is accused of using the City’s Radical Economic Transformation policy to give the contract to military veterans and business groups associated with the infamous construction mafia group Abadelangokubona.
So far only four of an estimated 112 witnesses have testified.