Hawks arrest ANC heads for Madiba funeral fraud

By BONGANI FUZILE, RAY HARTLE and MPHUMZI ZUZILE

THE ruling ANC was reeling in embarrassment last night after its top echelon in Buffalo City Metro (BCM) was arrested and charged with money laundering and fraud.

Those arrested yesterday include BCM’s executive mayor Zukiswa Ncitha, deputy mayor Temba Tinta, council speaker Luleka Simon-Ndzele, the ANC’s regional secretary, Pumlani Mkolo, and a senior councillor, Sindiswa Gomba.

The allegations they face relate to money meant for Nelson Mandela memorial services illegally being paid for other purposes.

Some R5.9-million was allegedly paid by BCM to local taxi boss Mzwandile Sokwali’s company Victory Ticket cc to ferry mourners to memorial services around the city after Mandela’s death in December.

Relatively small numbers of mourners were seen at the services owing to heavy rains at the time.

The arrests follow a two-month investigation by the police’s special investigations unit, the Hawks, and those arrested handed themselves over to the elite police unit after being instructed to do so yesterday morning.

Ncitha cut short her participation in a government lekgotla at a beachfront hotel – an important meeting ahead of the provincial state of the province address by premier Phumulo Masualle on Friday.

Businessman Mzwandile Sokwali and his wife Busisiwe Boti (front left to right) appeared in the East London Magistrates Court on fraud charges. Also appearing in back standing from left are ANC Regional secretary Pumlani Mkolo, BCM mayor Zukiswa Ncitha, BCM Deputy Mayor Temba Tinta, Ondela Mahlangu, BCM speaker Luleka Simon-Ndzele and BCM councillor Sindiswa Gomba Picture: MARK ANDREWS
Businessman Mzwandile Sokwali and his wife Busisiwe Boti (front left to right) appeared in the East London Magistrates Court on fraud charges. Also appearing in back standing from left are ANC Regional secretary Pumlani Mkolo, BCM mayor Zukiswa Ncitha, BCM Deputy Mayor Temba Tinta, Ondela Mahlangu, BCM speaker Luleka Simon-Ndzele and BCM councillor Sindiswa Gomba Picture: MARK ANDREWS

The five powerful politicians appeared alongside Ondela Mahlangu, the director in the office of the mayor, and local businesswoman Viwe Vazi.

Their charges were added to those of Sokwali and Blanche Boti, who have previously appeared in court in connection with the alleged fraud.

Two other people allegedly implicated in the memorial services scandal, Dean William Fanoe, owner of Mantella Trading 522 cc, and Zintle Nkuhlu did not appear in court although their names appeared on the court charge sheet.

A sum of R1380000 was given to Mantella Trading which was used to order T-shirts bearing Mandela’s face.

A further R899000 was given to Forty Wing, a company owned by Vazi. It later emerged that Mkolo’s girlfriend Nkuhlu, a Johannesburg-based lawyer, received R350000 from the funds through Lily Rose Trust which she co-owns with Sibongile Luthuli.

Late yesterday the ANC appeared to be scrambling for a coherent response to the high profile arrests.

Provincial spokesman Mlibo Qoboshiyane called on the party’s members to allow the court process to unfold to its conclusion.

“We stand by our initial position that all ANC members who might have information on this matter are urged to cooperate fully with the law enforcement agencies investigating this matter and with our justice system to get to the bottom of this matter,” he said.

The case followed a Daily Dispatch investigation which revealed that funds earmarked for Mandela memorial services found their way into the bank accounts of a number of private business people.

The dramatic events started early yesterday morning when Simon-Ndzele arrived at the Hawks office at about 9am.

She was immediately followed by Mahlangu. Minutes later, Tinta arrived accompanied by two bodyguards. Gomba sneaked in unnoticed in the company of a lady friend, followed by Ncitha, Mkolo and Vazi shortly after lunch.

The Dispatch understands that all the accused, apart from Mkolo, were called by the Hawks early yesterday to hand themselves over.

When Mkolo called the Hawks, he was advised to hand himself in.

 (from left to right) BCM mayor Zukiswa Ncitha, ANC Regional secretary Pumlani Mkolo, BCM councillor Sindiswa Gomba and BCM speaker Luleka Simon-Ndzele appeared in the East London Magistrates Court on fraud charges Picture: MARK ANDREWS
(from left to right) BCM mayor Zukiswa Ncitha, ANC Regional secretary Pumlani Mkolo, BCM councillor Sindiswa Gomba and BCM speaker Luleka Simon-Ndzele appeared in the East London Magistrates Court on fraud charges Picture: MARK ANDREWS

The magistrate’s courts were abuzz throughout the day with anticipation of the appearance of the political heavyweights, with confirmation they would appear at 2pm.

Shortly after the lunch break, security guards started allowing people into the public gallery of A court.

The mayor was the first to appear from the cells below with a slightly bemused expression on her face and wearing a business outfit.

Mkolo, whose name has been linked to the Mandela memorial scandal funds from the outset, wore a broad smile and chuckled as he chatted to co-accused.

The brief hearing eventually got underway after 3pm, after negotiations between prosecutors and lawyers.

Ketani was adamant he wanted bail set at R100000 for each accused, but the lawyers argued that it was excessive and tantamount to refusing bail altogether.

Acting magistrate Leon Kemp was concerned that any delays in finalising the hearing beyond the end of the business day would make bail meaningless because there would be no officials in the clerk of the court’s office to process the payments.

He eventually set bail at R10000 for each new accused, except for Vazi, whose bail was set at R5000.

HawksBCMCutOut

Hawks spokesman Paul Ramaloko said more arrests could be expected as the investigation progressed.

Ramaloko said all those implicated in the Mandela memorial investigation would be arrested and would appear in court.

Andre Schoombee, Fanoe’s lawyer, said his client was not informed to appear in court while Nkuhlu also claimed to be in the dark about the court case.

In granting bail, Kemp said the accused should not interfere with anybody on the list of witnesses.

He also ordered that they inform the investigating officer timeously of their intention to travel abroad.

Sokwali and Boti, had their conditions relaxed so that they no longer have to report at the local police station.

The next court appearance is September 1 this year.

 

 

23 COMMENTS

  1. what a shame for ANC and all those people. how come the mayor can say on the national TV that:” I am sure, I am going back to my office.” why she went there first of all if she was innocent.

  2. I’m sure the ANC begged the Hawks to make the arrests after the elections as it would’ve dented their campaign, how convinient!

  3. thina apha eMdantsane kule Buffalo City inye kubiwa kuyo imali siyasokola asakhelwa zindlu, kunzima indlela, itoilets zamagli zifuna ukulungiswa. Yhooo akunzima uphathwwa ngohlohlezabo. Amagali ade enza izinyoka ngoba kudala becela umbane awuzi kanti yintoni na le sikuyo? lets hope baninzi abazobanjwa. well done Hawks!!!!

  4. What a sight for sore eyes….you mean to say that lot were running the show? Is there a tertiary qualification between them?
    A Martian visiting would come to the conclusion that we allow the dregs of humanity to rule us.

  5. We all know what will happen: they will find a way to not get convicted….after all they are part of the anc…Come on justice system and HAWKS, prove us wrong: I DARE YOU!!!

  6. The rogues gallery ! It will be very interesting to see the outcome of this case/s. In the mean time have the BCM officials been suspended on full pay ?They should not receive a penny until proven innocent and should definitely not be allowed into any BCM building or offices. Come on DD have a look into that one and keep the public informed.They earn ridiculous salaries anyway and should not be paid whilst under investigation.

  7. if the president can do corruption obviuos the mayor does the same they think it is right what they are doing, so we as BCM residents we should make sure that the mayor should resign because she does not see what she did is wrong she is saying she is getting back to her office,so she wont provide us with any service,we will have a poor service until we do something take actions.

  8. All the above comments sum things up really well.
    We all wait .Can it be that justice will be seen to be done, at last, after 20 years .I really hope so.

  9. MXM I just looked at their cars yeerrr Black pple are hurtless. How can you steel money of someone how is dead. do you think you will succeed? nxa mazibanje zinye ezonja.

    • The money Bhuqa, is actually yours & mine….tax money. Maybe there should have been no money set aside for this…to see where true loyalties lie.

  10. The mayor is so arrogant and she thinks she has done a good job by stealing from our taxes money. Just on two weeks back all baffalo city residents were blocked electricity because she wanted to steal again our money. Look the roads around King williams town streets are full of holes. The mayor must go to jail because those junior officials were instructed by her to do so

  11. The next court hearing is not until September and this ganf is allowed out on bail in the meantime! Unless they are immedeately suspended they will go back to their offices and fix all th evidence against them and also ‘sort out’ the witnesses.
    Come on Court the next hearing should be nex week at the latest.

  12. ANC trash – their people are staffing and these miserable sh*ts feel nothing.

    The ANC needs to take blame for appointing people with two brain cells and no decency.

    For the voters, you get who you vote for………………..

  13. I’m interested to know why the deputy mayor is smiling in all the pictures. Otherwise people, this is the ANC you voted for because if I remember correctly you were chanting and raving about it a few months ago. If their “superior leader” is as corrupt and immoral as he is what good do you expect from his flock of bandits.

  14. The truly frightening thing is,corruption in the ANC is not localized to the BCM. This is a South African problem . Corruption is out of control and eventually we will be another Zimbabwe begging for hand outs and the poor will suffer for there gullibility in believing in the ANC to make South Africa a truly prosperous nation for all.

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