The accused in the Nelson Mandela funeral scandal are expected to appear at the Bhisho High Court in the Eastern Cape for trial on Tuesday.
The start of the trial has been delayed by numerous applications for postponement. The accused are charged with fraud, money laundering and contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act.
They include former Buffalo City Speaker Luleka Simon-Ndzele, former Mayor Zukiswa Ncitha, former Deputy Mayor Themba Tinta, former Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba and the Municipality’s former Supply Chain Manager, Thembelani Sali.
They have pleaded not guilty to the charges which relate to R10 million, allegedly embezzled from the Buffalo City Metro coffers during the memorial and funeral of former President Nelson Mandela in 2013.
One of the accused who was allegedly involved in the purchase of t-shirts amounting to over R1.3 million applied for the separation of trial, arguing that he was not aware that the monies he received from purchasing ANC t-shirts were proceeds of unlawful activity.
National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) regional spokesperson Anelisa Ngcakani says the state is opposing the application.
“The separation of trial is not in the interest of justice. Because in all of these counts they talk about a scheme that was designed to defraud the municipality. So we will have to lead the same evidence for the main trial and this trial as well.”
“There will be delays and you must remember the only date which was available for this main trial is from April to June. So now we will still have to find a date for the other trial as well. It’s not [a] fair trial to other accused,” adds Ngcakani.
The accused in the Nelson Mandela funeral scandal appeared in East London High Court on Thursday, January 19, 2022: