Gumede blasts NPA for ar­rest ‘with no ev­i­dence’

Pretoria News - - NATION - SIHLE MAVUSO

FORMER eThek­wini mayor Zandile Gumede has thrown an­other punch at the Hawks and the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity (NPA), lam­bast­ing them for ap­ply­ing a “re­verse ap­proach” while try­ing to pros­e­cute her for al­leged cor­rup­tion.

In a strong-worded state­ment, Gumede, who was ar­rested in May last year for al­legedly hav­ing a cor­rupt hand in a 2017 R208 mil­lion waste ten­der, re­peated as­ser­tions that she was a po­lit­i­cal tar­get in a ma­li­cious pros­e­cu­tion at­tempt.

She also claimed the two agen­cies were en­gaged in “a clear mis­sion against my name as a po­lit­i­cal ac­tivist for mere po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­di­ency”.

Ac­cord­ing to her, they should have gath­ered all the ev­i­dence they needed be­fore drag­ging her to court.

Gumede said they were bend­ing the rules of jus­tice by ar­rest­ing her first and in­ves­ti­gat­ing later.

“I am con­cerned that our law en­force­ment agen­cies have em­ployed a re­verse ap­proach in han­dling mat­ters, es­pe­cially those that in­volve politi­cians.

“As early as May 2018 they went pub­lic to an­nounce my so-called im­mi­nent ar­rest.

“As late as May 2019 the Hawks are not ready to pro­ceed and ad­mit that the mat­ter is not yet ready for trial and post­pone it to Au­gust 2020,” Gumede said.

In more crit­i­cism of the two law en­force­ment agen­cies, Gumede asked why they were not ready to pros­e­cute her af­ter raid­ing her house in Oc­to­ber last year.

“I am tempted to view this as se­ri­ous abuse, mis­use of power and a ve­hi­cle to achieve po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­di­ency.

“The ques­tion is: what was the rush that I should be ar­rested and charged be­fore Hawks can com­plete its in­ves­ti­ga­tions? Where are the charges?” she asked.

While ad­dress­ing her sup­port­ers af­ter a brief ap­pear­ance in the Dur­ban Com­mer­cial Crimes Court on Wed­nes­day, she claimed that the NPA was “scram­bling” to find ev­i­dence.

Gumede and her co-ac­cused will re­turn to court on April 16 af­ter the State asked for more time to in­ves­ti­gate.

This was af­ter telling the court that af­ter ob­tain­ing more doc­u­ments and mak­ing more ar­rests it was n ow look­ing at R389m as the fig­ure that will fea­ture in the cor­rup­tion trial.

NPA spokesper­son Bulelwa Makeke said Gumede must raise her con­cerns in court.

“It is im­por­tant to note that con­cerns by ac­cused per­sons are ad­dressed in court and not in the me­dia.

“I am in­clined to be­lieve that the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions will han­dle this mat­ter in that ap­pro­pri­ate fash­ion,” Makeke said.

Zandile Gumede

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