BCMM Officials in Court; Ingaba kulapho ithole lifele khona?
By Samantha Magwashu
On June 8, 2013, Democratic South Africa’s first president, Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013), is hospitalised for a “recurrent lung infection,” reported CBS News amongst others.
A month into the hospitalisation, July 9, the Presidency issued a statement that; “Former President Mandela is still in a critical but stable condition”. Whilst the U.S. Guardian Express reported since June 27 that “the former President is in a permanent vegetative state, assisted by life support machines”.
September 1, The Diba is discharged after 87 days in hospital. Local Media Reported; “his team of doctors are convinced that he will receive the same level of intensive care at his Houghton home that he received at the Pretoria Hospital”.
On Thursday, December 5, President Zuma announced at the Union Buildings in Pretoria; “My Fellow South Africans, our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, has passed on peacefully at home at the age of 95 in the company of his family around 20:50 pm,” and added; “Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of profound and enduring loss”.
December 6, following news of the passing of President Mandela, the Eastern Cape Executive Council (EXCO) met to arrange and approve funds for funeral arrangements. A Provincial Treasury statement published in the Daily Dispatch, May 19, 2014, reads; “there was insufficient time to call meetings and or even consult with all role-players” and that “normal government procurement processes needed to be deviated from”.
The EXCO noted; “Eastern Cape infrastructure needed urgent elevation to world class status” and resolved that; “Social Infrastructure Funds appropriated to the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC), were to be utilised for funeral preparations”.
In January 2014, local media reported that the ECDC CEO, Sitembele Mase, had been given notice to shape up or ship out saying he had breached fiduciary duty and had also been tasked to turn around an R18.9 million loss in the 2014/15 financial year.
March 19, Mase had been suspended with the ECDC board saying; “The suspension is a neutral act intended to minimise disruption to the business and protect the interests of the employee and the employer while an independent investigation is completed”. By May Mase had been dismissed, reportedly he and his Chief Financial Officer, Sandile Sentwa, had released funds for Nelson Mandela’s funeral without signed documentation.
August 26, The Daily Dispatch reported; “The ECDC has hired top labour advocate, Peter Kroon, to represent them” in what is now a labour dispute set for arbitration before the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
Whilst the ECDC provided the funds from its Social Infrastructure budget the local government level was delegated procurement agent.
In the Buffalo City Metro local media reported, January 25, 2014, that; “politically-connected ‘tenderpreneurs’ cashed-in on former statesman, Nelson Mandela’s, memorial services in December 2013”.
The police special investigations unit, the Hawks, concluded a two-month investigation, into fraud and money laundering in the BCMM related to the Mandela funeral funds. The Public Protector’s office is reportedly also investigating the matter: “The investigation will focus on four municipalities in the Eastern Cape which are; Nelson Mandela Metropolitan, OR Tambo, King Sabata Dalindyebo and Buffalo City,” Madonsela has said.
Monday June 23, Buffalo City Metro Municipality officials: Executive Mayor; Zukiswa Ncitha, Deputy Mayor; Themba Tinta, Council Speaker; Simon-Ndzele, ANC regional secretary; Phumlani Mkolo, BCM councillor; Sindiswa Gomba and senior metro official; Ondela Mahlangu, were arrested. They face charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering. They appeared in the East London Magistrate’s Court and were granted R 10 000 bail apiece.
On August 20, local media reported; “BCM trio to hear fate soon” and noted that the Provincial Executive is awaiting recommendation from the ANC National Integrity Commission (NIC) “before taking action against officials implicated in the Mandela memorial funds scandal”.
September 1, BCM officials returned to the East London Magistrates Court. The State Prosecutor, Advocate Diniso Ketani, requested for a postponement to November 21 in order to finalise the case. The accused list was also extended with the addition of Nosiphiwe Mati to the charge sheet. She was granted R 5000 bail. The trial date is set for April, 2015.
June 26, 2016; More people in court over Mandela funeral scandal. Daily Dispatch:
June 24, 2014; Top BCM officials in court over Mandela Scandal. Daily Dispatch:
December 5, 2013; Zuma announcing the death of Madiba. SABC Digital News: