Buffalo City Metro's CFO guilty of financial misconduct

Vincent Pillay faced financial misconduct charges for involvement in the Nelson Mandela memorial service scandal.

Buffalo City Metro’s chief financial officer, Vincent Pillay, has been found guilty by an internal disciplinary hearing of “financial misconduct” for his involvement in the Nelson Mandela memorial service scandal. 

He was found to have approved a R10 million payment in 2013, which was intended to fund transportation for mourners attending the former president Nelson Mandela’s memorial, of which only R5.9 million was transferred.

The remaining R4.1 million was blocked by the municipal manager Andile Fani, who was on leave when the decision was made, and paid into a company Victory Ticket, owned by local businessman Mzwandile Sokwali. 

Fani instituted the investigation which uncovered the scandal. 

At the hearing, which was chaired by L Vermaak, Pillay, who has been placed on suspension alongside supply chain head Thembelani Sali and head of special programmes Ondela Mahlangu, was found guilty on two counts of financial misconduct. 

Sokwali has been found guilty of fraud for his role. 

Vermaak said in his judgement that Vincent was found guilty of financial misconduct for how he had “grossly negligently breached” his “fiduciary duty” to the metro and “failed to perform the functions of” the office of the CFO “with due care, diligence, good faith, and honesty and failed to act in the best interest of the municipality”. 

He said that Pillay had caused the metro’s supply chain management (SCM) unit to follow procurement processes that are not in accordance with the requirements of the SCM processes. 

He was also found guilty of complying with instructions from the ANC, said Vermaak. “He acted in the interest of the party without having regarded those of the metro.” 

Vermaak also said that Pumali Mkolo, the former ANC regional leader, and Mkhawuleli Maleki, deputy regional leader, had instructed Vincent to pay Mzwandile’s company, which Maleki denies. 

Vincent said that he was being blamed for the wrongdoings of others for reasons of expediency and that he would appeal the hearing’s judgement. 

The case implicated eleven accused in the scandal, which include Zukiswa Ncitha, Buffalo City Metro executive mayor; Themba Tinta, deputy executive mayor; councillors Sindiswa Gomba, Luleka Simon-Ndzele, Ondela Mahlangu; a director at the mayor’s office; and business people Nosuphiwo Mati, Zintle Nkuhlu, Viwe Vazi and Dean Fanoe

The accused, along with their companies, are facing charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering.