Former mayor Zandile Gumede believes that her “ordeals” have made her a stronger and sharper leader.
Speaking on Sunday, she commented on the Hawks’ raid of her Inanda home.
“That’s how any leader is sharpened. If situations like these don’t happen in your life, that means you are not going to be a strong leader. To me, it’s something that has made me stronger. As long as you know that you are being honest as a leader and there’s nothing following you, you have nothing to fear,” she said.
Gumede is facing fraud, corruption and money-laundering charges, and is out on bail of R50 000.
The Hawks and Asset Forfeiture Unit raided the homes of Gumede and her co-accused in October.
Their charges relate to a municipal solid waste tender worth more than R200 million.
Gumede is accused of colluding with corporate entities and others to circumvent the municipality’s supply chain management protocols.
She was recalled as eThekwini mayor, as was Msunduzi mayor Themba Njilo, three months ago, after an ANC internal investigation found them responsible for a lack of service delivery.
Gumede also lost her position as the eThekwini ANC chairperson, when the ANC provincial leadership disbanded the region. A regional elective conference was scheduled for December, but was postponed to next year.
Gumede received a hero’s welcome in Embo on Sunday, where she had gone to hand over a home built by local business Jabula Hardware for 112-year-old Sizakele Bhengu.
She had promised Bhengu a new home while campaigning for the 2019 elections.
“If I’m elected again, I don’t have any fear. I just want to show other women that if you are charged with a position of power, you must be brave and make sure you do your work without fear or favour,” she said.
Gumede, now a PR councillor, was absent from the last council meeting of the year, held on December 12, and opposition parties claimed she had not attended council meetings since September.
Gumede said she had been on three months’ leave.
She said she had never taken leave in the 19 years she had been a councillor.
“So when this situation (her recall) happened, I thought it would be a good time to take three months’ leave in order to rest. I was on leave; you can check the records,” she said.
Gumede said she was already back at work for the ANC.