Sbu Ndebele still has the Merc

2009-05-28 00:00

ALMOST three weeks after Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele succumbed to public pressure and decided to return a luxury car he was given by the Vukuzakhe emerging contractors, the vehicle is apparently still in Ndebele’s possession.

Furthermore, the people who contributed to the purchase of the vehicle are demanding their money back.

The R1,14-million gift, which put Ndebele under immense pressure with allegations of corruption and conflict of interest, has apparently not been returned to the donors. Ndebele’s advisor, Kwazi Mbanjwa, reportedly said the minister is waiting for the contractors to collect the car. He said he understood the contractors agreed to take back the car after Ndebele agreed not to accept it.

This was confirmed by Phatheni Zondi, the managing director of Thatheni Women’s Construction and a member of Vukuzakhe. She said the problem is that the issue involves too many people.

“We are in discussion about what to do with the car, so we have yet to collect it. This is a delicate issue that involves a lot of people and a lot of money so we have to be careful.”

She said they were in no rush to bring the matter to closure as their decision to buy the car for Ndebele was also not rushed.

“When we decided to buy the gift it took us months of planning and so this is going to be the same.”

Zondi conceded that there are members of the emerging contractors who are not happy about Ndebele’s reported suggestion to sell the car and use the money to develop other contractors.

Apparently other contractors insist that since the money to buy the vehicle did not come from the group but rather from their own pockets, they are entitled to have their money back.

Zondi dismissed these views, saying the people do not know what they are talking about.

“The final decision will be that we sell the car. As to what we do with the money, we have not yet decided.”

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