Mandela funeral 'fraud': 'I am not worried' - says axed health MEC Sindiswa Gomba outside court

5th March 2021 By: News24Wire

"I'm not worried at all about this case because I know the truth. There is nothing that is going to be found against my name."

Axed MEC of Health in the Eastern Cape Sindiswa Gomba made the comment outside the East London Regional Court on Friday where she briefly appeared on charges relating to the R10-million fraud and corruption case involving the funeral of late former President Nelson Mandela.

Gomba is one of 15 accused, including three companies, who are facing an array of charges relating to the misappropriation of funds meant for Mandela’s funeral and memorial service in December 2013.

The group are accused of misleading the Buffalo City Metro municipality into believing that it had an obligation to make money available for the funeral of the late president.

According to the charge sheet, once the R10-million was authorised, the suspects acted with a common purpose to defraud and manipulate municipal procurement processes through illegal deviation.

They then allegedly manipulated the situation so that funding could be used for other purposes, rather than for what they officially were approved for.

The charges include fraud, corruption, money laundering, and contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

On Friday the accused appeared in the dock at the East London Regional Court, where Magistrate Annemarie Elliot postponed the case to 11 May.

The court heard that the case will be moved to the East London High Court on that day.

The accused are currently out on R1 000 bail each and the State has indicated that it has lined up 33 witnessed including senior government officials.

Among the accused are African National Congress (ANC) regional heavyweights including the ANC's regional chairman in the Buffalo City Region Phumlani Mkolo, former Buffalo City Metro council speaker Luleka Simon-Ndzele, former mayor Zukisa Ncitha, and her former deputy Themba Tinta

The rest of the accused are Tembelani Prideaux Sali, Ondela Vatile Mahlangu, Viwe Vazi, Zintle Nkuhlu, and Nqaba Ludidi.

Nosiphiwo Mati and Dean William Fanoe made their first appearance, after they failed to appear in court on 12 February because of ill health.

The 12 are charged along with Vazi, Mati, and Fanoe’s respective companies, Forty Wings Lodge CC,  Mpidos Emergence and Training CC, and Mantella Trading 522 CC.

Gomba’s comment outside court comes as the Hawks told media that their case was solid and that they were confident that the judge would rule in their favour.

Hawks national spokesperson Colonel Katlego Morale said the strength of their investigation and the gravity of the crime has led to the decision to move the case to the High Court.

"If we were not that confident, we would not be taking it to the High Court. The decision to take it to the High Court is not only from the Hawks but also from the prosecuting team. It’s partly based on the amount of work that has gone into the investigation as well as the amount of money that was squandered," said Morale.

Gomba was fired as Health MEC by Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane last month, saying he was giving her time and space to focus on her court case.

The matter was postponed to 11 May and will now be moved to the High Court provisionally for merit consultation, management of pre-trial matters, and possible determination of a trial date.