The accused in the Nelson Mandela funeral fraud scandal will be back in court on February 28 when a ruling is expected in their application for the separation of trial.
The 12 accused include axed provincial Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) member Zukiswa Ncitha.
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: