Gomba cries foul over delayed justice

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Sindiswa Gomba and 11 other accused appeared before the East London Regional Court on Tuesday on charges of corruption, money laundering, fraud and contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act. Photo:  Archive
Sindiswa Gomba and 11 other accused appeared before the East London Regional Court on Tuesday on charges of corruption, money laundering, fraud and contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act. Photo: Archive

NEWS


Former Eastern Cape health MEC Sindiswa Gomba has lambasted delays in the Nelson Mandela funeral corruption case saying it is justice delayed.

Gomba and 11 other accused appeared before the East London Regional Court on Tuesday on charges of corruption, money laundering, fraud and contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

The matter was remanded to July 28, which Gomba views as further delays because she wants a chance to take the witness stand and clear her name.

Gomba, Phumlani Mkolo, Zukiswa Veronica Ncitha, Themba Tinta, Luleka Simon-Ndzele, Tembelani Prideaux Sali, Ondela Vatile Mahlangu, Viwe Vazi, Zintle Nkuhlu (a trustee of the Lilly Rose Trust), Nosiphiwo Mati, Dean William Fanoe and Nqaba Ludidi had their bail extended.

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

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) national spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said the accused allegedly schemed to swindle R10 million from the Buffalo City Metro during preparations for the funeral of late former president Nelson Mandela in December 2013.

READ: Step aside list: ANC members charged with corruption or other serious crimes

“It is alleged that R5.9 million was already transferred to them before the municipal manager, Andile Fani, stopped the further payment of R4.1 million.”

The case against the accused, who include businesspeople, ANC councillors, municipal officials and politicians, is in relation to money that were stolen from the municipality under the guise that the money would be used to transport mourners to memorial service events ahead of the funeral of Madiba.

“The plan was, firstly, to mislead the Buffalo City Metro council into accepting that it was expected of the metro to make funding available for the transportation of mourners to various venues where memorial services were to be held, then to manipulate the situation so that funding could be used for other purposes than for what they officially were approved for,” said the NPA.

Ngwema said the matter was “provisionally remanded to July 28 for merit consultation, management of pretrial matters and possible determination of a trial date”.

We don’t have the kind of money to be in court for seven years paying lawyers a lot of money
Sindiswa Gomba

After the court adjourned, a frustrated Gomba said for seven years they had been waiting for an indictment from the state, which has not being forthcoming.

“The implications of this case have been financial and personal. We don’t have the kind of money to be in court for seven years paying lawyers a lot of money.

“Secondly, there is no court of law – unless South Africa does not have a Constitution – where the rights of citizens are not respected. You cannot be going to court for seven years and have never taken a stand to argue the case, and still want to believe that cannot be frustrating. It is very frustrating,” she said.

Gomba, who was fired earlier this year by Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane, said she did not “steal even a cent” from the Buffalo City Metro. She was councillor of the metro at the time the alleged crime took place.

“At a point when we thought the state would finally come up with the charges they didn’t because they don’t have the charges … We have been eager to get to the stand and argue the case, but it is clear that the NPA is not ready despite saying it is,” she said, adding that the delays in the case were beneficiary to some parties while keeping the accused’s lives on stand still.

“We don’t even know why we are in court,” said Gomba, who is accused number 5 in the case.

READ: Mabuyane: RET forces retreat

Inside the court, her advocate, Mike Maseti, said his client had been “lynched in public” as a result of the case.

“It’s our view that she should have had her day long ago. It’s one reason or another that prevents us from getting that day in court. We handed representations to the state to say that out of all the entire body of evidence that we have, we don’t see a witness implicating Gomba in anything,” he said.

The case against the accused, who include businesspeople, ANC councillors, municipal officials and politicians, is in relation to monies that were stolen from the municipality under the guise that the money would be used to transport mourners to memorial service events ahead of the funeral of Madiba.

“The plan was, firstly, to mislead the Buffalo City Metro council into accepting that it was expected of the metro to make funding available for the transportation of mourners to various venues where memorial services were to be held, then to manipulate the situation so that funding could be used for other purposes than for what they officially were approved for,” said the NPA.


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Lubabalo Ngcukana 

Journalist

+27 11 713 9001
lubabalo.ngcukana@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park


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