Masualle called to account over funeral scandal

Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle
Picture: TMG

Party to grill premier and mayors on Mandela funds

ANC bosses in the Eastern Cape have summoned premier Phumulo Masualle and three mayors to its provincial headquarters to be quizzed on the Nelson Mandela funeral funds scandal.

Masualle, Buffalo City metro mayor Xola Pakati, OR Tambo mayor Nomakhosazana Meth and King Sabata Dalindyebo mayor Dumani Zozo have been called to Calata House in King William’s Town to explain how millions of rands meant for the mourning period leading to Mandela’s funeral were looted.

The finding was made by public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane in her Mandela Funeral report, released on Monday.

The mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro, which was also named in the report, is not an ANC deployee.

On the sidelines of the provincial general council on policy in East London, ANC provincial secretary Lulama Ngcukayitobi confirmed that the three mayors had been summoned.

Mkhwebane revealed in her report that the Eastern Cape government had diverted R300-million meant for social infrastructure preparations for Mandela’s funeral.

Mkhwebane referred to several irregularities in the spending of the money as “unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money”.

The report, in the main, pointed a finger at the provincial government headed by Masualle, the Buffalo City metro, Nelson Mandela Bay metro, OR Tambo district municipality and the King Sabata Dalindyebo local authority.

Ngcukayitobi said Masualle and the three ANC mayors would appear before the party’s provincial executive committee (PEC) meeting on Monday.

It will be the first time that Masualle presents himself in the PEC since the “festival of chairs” conference in the East London ICC more than two months ago.

“That is where we will get a comprehensive response to the Nelson Mandela funeral scandal,” Ngcukayitobi said.

“Premier Masualle will be part of that meeting so he can give us his perspective, because we have requested that particular discusSteinhoff sion with him. But the mayors from municipalities that have been reflected on the public protector’s report will also find space to give their perspective in so far as the remedial actions are concerned.”

Meanwhile, Ngcukayitobi said the PEC had also confirmed Masualle to form part of the provincial working committee (PWC).

This could be seen as an attempt to forge unity between rival groups of Masualle and new provincial chairman Oscar Mabuyane following the chaotic provincial conference.

Ngcukayitobi also touched on the main issues in the discussion on the refining of policies that the province will champion for adoption at the ANC’s 54th national congress starting on December 16.

One of them was the ANC Eastern Cape’s push for the national conference to take a resolution to amend Section 25 of the country’s constitution to decisively address the land question and accelerate economic transformation.

Other issues discussed were education and communication.

Today, the focus will be on strategy and tactics, organisational renewal and health.

Ngcukayitobi said the discussions would be tabled for further scrutiny at Monday’s meeting, where logistics for the elective conference would also be deliberated.

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