EThekwini Municipality remains a “Gangster’s Paradise”

Sizwe Sibiya

You would have expected eThekwini municipality to have learnt its lesson after the massive scandal that cost mayor Zandile Gumede her job.

But not so; it seems to have gone back to business as usual.

Zandile along with four other councillors was arrested on charges of fraud and corruption relating to a R430-million Durban Solid Waste tender in May 2019.

The DA’s Nicole Graham, who is also a member of the city’s executive committee, says nothing has changed since then to increase accountability.

If anything, she says, there have been greater efforts to bypass accountability, including keeping the official opposition in the dark about most tenders.

“There is no transparency, there is little accountability and the only way things come to light is if the media or the opposition happen to stumble upon them through elite documents. It’s a gangster’s paradise,” said Graham.

Three of the four co-accused councillors – arrested with Gumede – are still getting paid as ward councillors.

Graham says these salaries have “cost ratepayers almost R200,000 per month and it has been almost a year.”

In March 2020 City Manager Sipho Nzuza, who was also implicated, was arrested and suspended. When the suspension ended three months ago, he slipped into leave on full pay – which is still ticking over at R275,000 a month.

A month before his arrest Graham said Nzuza awarded a previously blacklisted company ‘Uhlanga Trading Enterprise’ a R16,9 million sewer reticulation tender. 

Photo: Zandile and Nzuza in Court (@NewsBotZA)