After several postponement applications by officials and politicians facing fraud and money laundering charges in the Buffalo City Metro, their trial finally resumed on Tuesday.
The case is being heard in the Eastern Cape High Court in Bhisho, where prosecutor advocate Ulrike de Klerk cross-examined former Eastern Cape premier Noxolo Kiviet.
Kiviet is the first State witness.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said three of the 14 accused had launched postponement applications on 11 April, the initial date set for the trial, because they needed to make submissions to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Among these is former mayor Zukiswa Ncitha who applied for a postponement after three applications by the other accused failed.
“An application for the presiding judge, Igna Stretch, to recuse herself was also without success. [Suspended ANC regional chairperson Phumlani] Mkolo made representations on the eve of the commencement of the trial on 11 April 2022.”
Tyali said the NPA hoped the trial would proceed without further delays.
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The accused include former speaker Simon-Ndzele, former mayor Zukiswa Ncitha, former deputy mayor Themba Tinta, and former Eastern Cape health MEC Sindiswa Gomba.
News24 reported the charges were related to the R10 million which was paid by the metro for the funeral and memorial service of late former president Nelson Mandela in December 2013.
They are accused of misleading the municipality into believing it had to avail funds for the funeral.
According to the charge sheet seen by News24, the group acted with intent to defraud municipal procurement processes through illegal deviation.
They allegedly diverted the funds for use other than Mandela’s funeral and memorial.