BCM under fire for failure to probe pair: Daily Dispatch

BUFFALO City Metro’s (BCM) top management has been criticised for allegedly failing to act against two senior officials linked to the multimillion rand Nelson Mandela memorial scandal.

The lack of action has prompted opposition parties to call for heads to roll.

The Daily Dispatch last week exposed how supply chain management (SCM) general manager Thembelani Sali and his assistant Nqaba Ludidi allegedly pocketed more than R100 000 from the R5.985-million BCM paid to businessman Mzwandile Sokwali.

In his affidavit to police, Sokwali alleges he gave Sali R80 000 at a fuelling station near George Randell High in Greenfields while Ludidi received R30 000 at Sokwali’s Vincent office.

BCM spokesman Thandy Matebese said after a council resolution the matter went to the provincial government and the city manager was not given space to investigate it.

“At this point no report has been presented to council with regards to the outcome of the provincial government’s investigation,” he said.

A senior manager at BCM said this was a concern to other officials.

“There are questions that are being asked by officials because we’ve got so many employees here who have been accused of doing petty things but they end up being suspended or fired.”

Another official said early last year eight officials at SCM were suspended for “gross misconduct relating to dishonesty”.

“Those officials were suspended for things like cover quotes accusations and while there was no financial benefit to them, they were suspended. Why not these two?”

Matebese said: “The city manager does not have a report to form a basis for any disciplinary process.”

Contacted for comment, Sali said he was not aware of allegations against him and Ludidi said it was “an institutional issue”.

The PAC’s Jerome Mdyolo said they had called for the BCM supply chain unit to be overhauled.

“These two should be suspended with immediate effect while investigations continue.”

DA provincial leader Veliswa Mvenya said action should have been taken, but there was an attitude in government that “if I go down I won’t go down alone”.

“Maybe these two have something they know.”

Sokwali’s company Victory Ticket received R5.985-million from the metro in December 2013 to transport mourners for the memorial services of the late Mandela.

Many people who benefited from that money have since been arrested and some have paid back the money to the state.

Sokwali was arrested together with his wife Busisiwe Boti, who was later acquitted. Some of those arrested include BCM executive mayor Zukiswa Ncitha, her deputy Themba Tinta, speaker Luleka Simon-Ndzele and ANC head of the BCM region Pumlani Mkolo, whose trial is due to begin in April.

National Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the investigation was complete. —