De Klerk Foundation welcomes arrest

Staff Writer | May 19, 2019
eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede’s appearance in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crime Court this week relating to charges of fraud and corruption has been welcomed by the F W de Klerk Foundation.

The FW de Klerk Foundation said the court appearance of eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede ‘signals one of the first dominoes to fall’ in the pursuit of alleged perpetrators of the looting of State funds.

In a statement, the Foundation’s director, Theuns Eloff said: ‘The FW de Klerk Foundation welcomes media reports that eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede appeared in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crime Court, relating to charges of fraud and corruption concerning eThekwini Municipality. Ms Gumede apparently handed herself over to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) to avoid arrest and appeared in Court to face the charges.’

Eloff added: ‘This signals one of the first dominoes to fall in answering for the alleged looting of State funds, and all eyes will be on the court case.’

The Daily Friend reported earlier this week that Gumede’s court appearance related to a larger conspiracy aimed at defrauding the municipality. 

Eloff said: ‘The charging of these officials on counts of corruption and fraud is a major step in bringing to book those who have allegedly looted State funds for their own personal gain. One of the main priorities of the newly elected government should be not only to fight corruption but more importantly, to ensure those who have abused their positions are held accountable. 

‘For this to happen, South Africa needs strong institutions and strong institutional capacity, as well as the cooperation of the Hawks, other investigative bodies and the National Prosecution Authority (NPA). The Hawks are in specific need to be meticulous in the way in which they conduct their investigation and gather evidence, in order to guarantee the best chance of conviction if the accused are found guilty. This is essential for restoring the public’s confidence in the criminal justice system. 

‘In a broader context, this can be seen as a positive development in President Ramaphosa’s quest to deal decisively with the double scourge of State capture and corruption. This is particularly significant in that it is happening in the capital of the province where former president Zuma still has some influence.’

Looting of the South African public purse reached unprecedented highs over the past decade following the rise to power of corrupt and leftist factions of the ruling African National Congress (ANC). Party leaders looted the State with impunity as democratic institutions were eroded and the rule of law undermined. Investors hope that the administration of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who took over the leadership of the ANC in December 2017, will put an end to the looting while isolating leftist ideologues and promoting market-friendly reforms.   

 

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