DA councillor’s case postponed
Nelson Mandela Bay DA councillor Mbulelo Manyati was back in the dock on Monday, only for his fraud case to be postponed again in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crime Court.
Manyati, a former undertaker at Zincedeni Funeral Services, along with his son, Mandisa Sibham, Dr Lucky Swartbooi, Sakhumzi Bhazi and Phumelela Radu, face a charge of fraud after they allegedly tried to claim R30,000 from Metropolitan Life from a funeral policy taken out by Bhazi.
According to court documents, Bhazi took out a Future Builder Family Funeral Plan in June 2013, underwritten by Metropolitan Life Ltd.
The policy covered three individuals Bhazi claimed were his aunt, uncle and cousin.
It is alleged that on January 28 2014 and acting in common purpose with Manyati, Radu, Swartbooi and Sibham, Bhazi submitted a death claim for Phindiwe Mzwelitye.
A false abridged death certificate accompanied the application stating that Mzwelitye had died on January 20 2014 – two years after his actual death.
On Monday, state advocate Wilhelm de Villiers told the court that Bhazi had still not been found and that Manyati and Sibham had changed their legal representation. De Villiers said he had received a call from defence attorney Danie Gouws last week to inform him that he would be taking over from Zolile Ngqeza.
Ngqeza confirmed he was no longer representing the father and son and that Gouws was now mandated to represent them in the trial.
Gouws asked magistrate Hannes Claassen for a postponement for him to obtain a copy of the docket and to consult with his clients.
De Villiers said the case was not a complicated one and that he was disappointed that the two men decided to change attorneys at the last minute.
Claassen granted the request for the postponement.
A provisional court date has been set for November 19 to decide a trial date.
Manyati shot to prominence in August when he turned on his party by abstaining from a vote which saw the removal of council speaker Jonathan Lawack.