A SECOND Buffalo City Metro (BCM) councillor may find herself in hot water after it emerged a luxury vehicle damaged while in possession of a senior ANC councillor was hired in her name.About R170 000 worth of damage was caused to a Mercedes-Benz C180 hired by the city for Sindiswa Gomba to attend classes at the University of Fort Hare’s Bhisho campus.
It was not returned to the rental company by the stipulated date and was allegedly damaged by Gomba’s son, Siyabonga, with a brick while parked at his Summerpride home.
But documents leaked to the Daily Dispatch last week show the luxury German sedan was actually taken out in ANC councillor Nozizwe Otola’s name and not Gomba’s.
There is also a suspicion Gomba may have driven the car without a valid driver’s licence.
The vehicle was hired on August 20 last year and Gomba was issued with a temporary licence on August 24, a day before the vehicle was damaged and four days after it was hired.
She refused to speak to the Dispatch this week while Otola denied the car was hired in her name.
She said she merely accepted receipt of the vehicle on behalf of Gomba when it was delivered to the East London City Hall.
The matter is now being investigated by the metro’s municipal public accounts committee (MPAC), which is expected to finish its investigation within three months.
Among the leaked documents is a form from the car rental company with Otola’s details, including her signature and identity number.
The form shows part of Gomba’s identity particulars which were crossed out and replaced with Otola’s details, including her cellphone number, signature and Mdantsane home address.
The other document is an accident claim form filled in by Gomba when reporting the incident.
It reveals for the first time the vehicle was damaged around 6am and the case opened with the Cambridge police around 7.30am the same morning.
“Yes, I signed for the receipt of the vehicle, but it was hired by the municipality and not me and I was never its driver,” said Otola.
“I am not part of this but was asked by councillor Gomba to sign and acknowledge receipt of the car because she said her handbag, with her driver’s licence, had been left in another vehicle and it was not on her possession at the time.”
The form Otola signed states that by signing she undertakes to be the only designated driver.
If someone else needed to drive the car she needed to immediately furnish the rental company with the new driver’s details, “failing which, I accept responsibility for damages and fines”.
The Dispatch gave Gomba a chance to clear her name, but she instead issued a veiled threat.
“There is nothing I will say to you. You can write whatever you like or you can call those people giving you the information and ask them to comment.
“You previously wrote stories about me without my comment, so go ahead again, but you and me, we will meet some day,” an agitated Gomba said before ending the call.
Attempts yesterday to reach council speaker Luleka Simon failed.
Metro communication head Keith Ngesi said his office was yet to be briefed on the matter and he was unable to comment.
Gomba and Otola are among BCM politicians named in an Ernst & Young forensic investigation into corrupt activities in the metro.
The report, which stemmed from 2010 investigations after the city failed to account for R2-billion of its budget, is yet to be made public.