Court to rule on barring of new evidence in Mandela funeral trial

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The High Court in Bhisho in the Eastern Cape is expected to make a ruling on Wednesday in the application that the accused have filed against the state in the Mandela funeral scandal.

The accused want the state to be barred from introducing new evidence during the trial.

Former African National Congress (ANC) Regional Chair, Phumlani Mkolo, and 11 others are accused of embezzling R10 million from the Buffalo City Metro.

The cash was meant for the memorial service and funeral of former President Nelson Mandela in 2013.

The other co-accused include former Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba, NCOP member Zukiswa Ncitha and former Buffalo City Metro Speaker, Luleka Simon-Ndzele.

The defence team says the disclosure of evidence should have happened before the trial had started. It also says that the timing of the disclosure puts them in a difficult position to prepare and challenge the evidence.

The defence team is also questioning the admissibility of the evidence that some witnesses have given.

The said evidence relates to cellphone records which the state is accused of being in possession of for a long time but is only bringing to bear now.

A cellphone expert from Vodacom is expected to testify in the trial in the High Court in Bhisho on Tuesday. The State denies the allegations.

Trial of the 11 accused in the Mandela Funeral Fraud Scandal resumes:

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.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has since said that the state is opposing the application.