City sued for lost car

2020-02-19 14:15

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A taxi owner is asking the city’s high court to hold Msunduzi Municipality’s acting municipal manager, Nelisiwe Ngcobo, in contempt of court and jail her.

He also wants Msunduzi traffic officer Sabelo Mbanjwa to face the wrath of the law.

Ngcobo and Mbanjwa have allegedly not abided by a court order granted on September 13, 2018, directing that they return Siphiwe Dube’s Toyota RunX to him within 14 days.

Alternatively, Dube is asking that Ngcobo and Mbanjwa be ordered to comply with that order.

According to the initial court papers filed in 2018, Dube’s car was stolen in Durban and recovered in Pietermaritzburg.

Dube said at the time that in January 2016, he was at home when he heard “some strange noise coming from outside”. When he peeped through the window, he saw his car being driven away by someone he did not know.

He reported the theft to the Bellair police station. Six months later, Mbanjwa called him and said the vehicle had been found in Pietermaritzburg.

Dube was then asked to come to the city with documentation to prove he was the owner of the vehicle, which he did. He found out that it had been recovered from a woman who said she bought it from a car dealer in Durban for R50 000.

Mbanjwa told Dube that the vehicle had to be sent to the police pound in Mkondeni and that he should collect it from there after a week. When he went there, he was told the car was not there.

Various attempts to get the vehicle failed, which forced him to turn to the high court for help.

Dube said in court papers when his car was not returned to him in terms of the court order, his attorneys wrote to Ngcobo on October 30, 2018, informing her that the 14 days had expired and that she was now in contempt of court.

On November 2, the municipality’s attorneys wrote back and said it was unable to locate the car and therefore it was not possible to comply with the order.

The attorneys added that the municipality wanted to settle the matter by paying out the value of the vehicle.

Dube said the municipality and Mbanjwa have been “disingenuous” in that they have failed to disclose what steps were taken to locate his car.

He added that the municipality should be transparent about this.

The municipality, Ngcobo and Mbanjwa have had a fair and adequate opportunity to comply with the order and have failed to do so.

Dube said their conduct demonstrates their disregard for the authority of the court, at his expense.

He said Mbanjwa’s conduct is an “indication of the high-handed approach adopted by so many senior public officials”. Also, Mbanjwa’s conduct is baffling and undermines the esteem in which the office of the municipal manager ought to be held, he said.

The contempt of court application has been adjourned to a date to be arranged for the municipality to file its opposing affidavits.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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