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Cellphone Data Admissibility Denied in Mandela Funeral Scandal Trial

  • Cellphone Data Admissibility: The article discusses the denial of an appeal application aimed at excluding cellphone data from the Mandela Funeral Scandal trial in Bhisho, Eastern Cape.
  • Accused Allegations: Phumlani Mkolo, the primary defendant, challenged the admission of cellphone records, alleging insufficient reasoning by the judge and attempting to delay proceedings.
  • Judicial Ruling: Judge Igna Stretch dismissed Mkolo's claims, emphasizing accountability and transparency in the court's decisions, highlighting the significance of the ruling in the trial's progression.
A user on a cellphone.


The appeal application to exclude cellphone data as evidence in the Mandela Funeral Scandal trial, held at the High Court in Bhisho, Eastern Cape, has been denied. Judge Igna Stretch of the Bhisho High Court dismissed the application, labeling it as a mere delay tactic.

Phumlani Mkolo, accused number one in the case, sought to challenge the admission of cellphone records as evidence following the rejection of a previous application aimed at removing state evidence, including said records, from consideration.

Expressing dissatisfaction, Mkolo argued that the judge’s decision to admit the cellphone data lacked substantive reasoning. He believed that the judge’s rationale was insufficient and failed to justify the admission of such evidence.

Mkolo, along with 11 other defendants, stands accused of embezzling R10 million from the Buffalo City Metro during the 2013 funeral arrangements for the late Nelson Mandela. Judge Stretch firmly dismissed Mkolo’s assertions, deeming them groundless.

Judge Stretch rebuffed Mkolo’s claims, asserting that the court’s actions were neither arbitrary nor unaccountable. She emphasized the importance of providing comprehensive reasons for decisions, highlighting the lack of merit in Mkolo’s objections.

“In Shakespearean terms, this seems like a mere theatrical performance, with the real motive being a deliberate attempt to prolong proceedings,” remarked Judge Stretch, dismissing the notion that the only consequence of excluding the evidence would be a delay in the trial process.

With the trial’s focus on the alleged misappropriation of funds earmarked for Mandela’s funeral, the ruling holds significant implications for the case’s trajectory and the pursuit of justice. The decision underscores the court’s commitment to upholding due process and ensuring a fair trial for all parties involved.

In the context of South Africa, where the legacy of Nelson Mandela holds immense cultural and historical significance, the trial resonates deeply with the public. The alleged mismanagement of funds intended for Mandela’s final tribute strikes a chord, evoking sentiments of betrayal and indignation.

As the legal proceedings unfold in Bhisho, the public eye remains fixed on the courtroom developments. The denial of Mkolo’s appeal serves as a pivotal moment in the trial, setting the stage for the presentation of crucial evidence and testimonies.

In navigating the complexities of the legal system, the Bhisho High Court reaffirms its commitment to transparency and accountability. By meticulously evaluating the admissibility of evidence, the court endeavors to uphold the integrity of the judicial process and deliver justice impartially.

As the trial progresses, stakeholders await further developments with keen interest. The outcome of this case will not only determine the fate of the accused but also serve as a testament to the resilience of South Africa’s legal institutions in safeguarding the principles of democracy and the rule of law.

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