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Zandile Gumede slams NPA after media refused entry to court

Senior State prosecutor Ashika Lucken asked the court to only allow Zandile Gumede and her co-accused to observe the proceedings, citing the need for social distancing inside the courtroom.

FILE: Zandile Gumede. Picture: @eThekwiniM/Twitter

DURBAN - Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede on Thursday lashed at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for barring media from proceedings in her corruption case.

Senior State prosecutor Ashika Lucken asked the court to only allow Gumede and her co-accused to observe the proceedings, citing the need for social distancing inside the courtroom.

However, Gumede said there was ample space to allow for at least two members of the media, and she believed the State made the call in a bid to hide its lack of preparedness in the matter.

The former mayor and 16 others face corruption charges linked to tender fraud valued at close to R400 million dating back to 2016.

Gumede had always maintained her innocence, saying as a politician she had no authority to sign off any tenders in the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality.

She said the State was running out of options.

“Today for the first time, the Durban Magistrate Court did not allow any member of the media to sit inside for the matter. But when we were initially arrested, they allowed journalists inside the court so that the wrong information could be spread,” she said.

Gumede said she wanted the case against her to be struck from the roll until investigations were concluded.

The matter was postponed to September.

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