Gumede blasts NPA for arrest ‘with no evidence’
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.