‘Poor as a church mouse’ Zandile Gumede bounces back as ‘honourable MPL’

Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede is an MPL in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature despite an ongoing R430m corruption case against her and 17 co-accused. Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Corruption accused former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede is officially an honourable member of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature.

Gumede was sworn in on Wednesday as an ANC MPL, after the death of  Cogta portfolio committee chairperson Ricardo Mthembu.

The former mayor was removed by the ANC in KZN  from the mayoral seat after a R430m corruption case against her and her 17 co-accused surfaced.

Gumede appeared in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court in July on charges linked to the tender fraud case dating back to 2016. However, the case against her and several co-accused was again postponed to September.

Gumede and her supporters have consistently called for a dismissal of the case, saying it was nothing but a political witch-hunt.

Gumede, who previously referred to herself as being as “poor as a church mouse”, has now bounced back, popping up at the legislature and swearing to be “faithful to the Republic of South Africa, to obey, respect and uphold the constitution and all other laws of the Republic”.

Meanwhile the ANC pre-empted criticism for deploying Gumede to the legislature and has come out in her and the party’s defence.

“The ANC KZN is fully aware of detractors who will seek to use cde Gumede’s ongoing court case to criticise the appointment, however, we subscribe to the notion of innocent until proven guilty as enshrined in our justice system and, as such, there is nothing untoward about the appointment of cde Gumede,” provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said.

Ntombela said the ANC is a “firm believer in women empowerment and is confident that Gumede’s experience is a worthwhile addition to the legislature”.

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By Zimasa Matiwane – TimesLIVE

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