Nelson Mandela memorial taxi scandal trial resumes

APRIL 7, 2015

The trial of the nine remaining accused in the Nelson Mandela memorial taxi scandal is scheduled to get underway in the East London regional court today. The trial is scheduled for three weeks and among the accused are Buffalo City Metro Mayor, Zukiswa Ncitha, and her deputy, Themba Tinta.

Joining them is Buffalo City Metro Council speaker Luleka Simon-Ndzele, Sindiswa Gomba and Director in Ncitha’s office, Ondela Mahlangu.

Also appearing are ANC regional secretary, Pumlani Mkolo, his ex-girlfriend, Nosiphiwo Mati, and current girlfriend, Zintle Nkuhlu.

Business people, Viwe Vazi and Dean Fanoe will also be on trial.

Allegations are that the Buffalo City Metro paid a bloated R5.985 million to local taxi boss Mzwandile Sokwali’s company, Victory Ticket 750cc, to ferry mourners to memorial services around the city after Mandela’s death in December 2013.

The Hawks investigated the case and Sokwali and his wife, Blanche Boti, were arrested- the mayor and the rest of the accused were arrested later.

In December last year, Sokwali and his company, Victory Ticket 750cc, were convicted while Sokwali’s wife, Boti, was acquitted.

Of the money, a sum of R1.38 million was given to Fanoe’s Mantella Trading which was used to order T-shirts bearing Mandela’s face.

A further R899 000 was given to Vazi’s company, Forty Wings.

It later emerged that Mkolo’s girlfriend Nkuhlu, a Johannesburg-based lawyer, received R350 000 from the funds through Lily Rose Trust which she co-owns with Sibongile Luthuli.

Mati received R100 000 of this money. Some of the suspects have paid back the money to the state after the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) attached their bank accounts.

The AFU managed to recover R4.1 million of the R5.985 million paid out for the memorial last year. 

-Additional reporting Daily Dispatch.

Image: Buffalo City Metro Mayor, Zukiswa Ncitha.