DURBAN, December 20 – eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede has ramped up her attempts to stop “defamatory” statements being made about her alleged involvement in corruption.
In a press statement on Thursday, Gumede said she took “serious exception to ongoing campaigns mounted in various media houses” aimed at creating an impression that she was a “corrupt leader” and was influencing the awarding of tenders.
“To this end, the mayor has vowed to pursue every legal means to deal decisively with those who are peddling lies that border on defaming her character,” said the statement.
Gumede is also the chairperson of the African National Congress (ANC) eThekwini region, the biggest in the country.
In her statement, Gumede said she had been successful in interdicting multi-millionaire Durban businessman Calvin Mathibeli.
The interdict was granted at the Durban High Court on 26 November, although Gumede did not mention the date in her statement.
In a story carried in the Sunday Tribune in July, Mathibeli alleged that he had to pay Gumede R100,000 to keep his share of a multi-million rand contract that he was jointly awarded in 2015. Mathibeli alleged that when he would not make another donation, his contract was cancelled.
“The Durban High Court Judge [Jerome] Mnguni granted an interdict, ordering and restraining Calvin Mathibeli from, in any manner, making any defamatory statements related to Mayor Zandile Gumede either personally or through the agency of any third party,” said the statement.
Gumede said she had no direct involvement in “advertising, adjudication, awarding and cancelation of tenders”.
“I have noticed that some newspapers are prejudging issues even before they are given factual responses. I understand that it is not the duty of journalists to be my praise singers. Therefore, I accept constructive criticism that is backed up by facts,” said Gumede.
“However, I will never hesitate to take legal action against information peddlers who seem to be on a campaign aimed at tarnishing my good name.”
Gumede added that she had been “instrumental in establishing the City Integrity and Investigation Unit (CIIU) and vesting it with the wide powers it has to fight corruption”. (ANA)