After a couple of delays, the corruption trial of Zandile Gumede is now underway. And the presiding judge has issued a stern warning to legal reps regarding the issue: they should go ahead with the case and not withdraw over non-payment.
Gumede, a former eThekwini mayor, is standing trial alongside 21 others for racketeering, corruption, fraud, and money laundering.
The case is being heard at the Durban High Court. Sharmaine Balton presided over the case in March and after a couple of hearings, an adjournment was made. During the break, apparently the judge received several letters of withdrawal.
But she is having none of that, as withdrawals will further stall the case. So, during Monday’s sitting, she warned that she was not going to grant representatives a withdrawal easily.
In her words, “This trial will proceed whether you have the funds or not. It will not be adjourned for reasons that attorneys have not been placed in funds.”
A total of 122 witnesses will be testifying in the case. So far, though, only two of them have testified and both are still under cross-examination. Given the presiding judge’s recent verdict, it would be interesting to see how representatives would navigate the case and not ditch their briefs.