Claims councillor posed as mayor
WHAT I read in Tuesday’s The Herald front page story headlined “Councillor denies masquerading as mayor in China’’ is quite shocking and leaves many unanswered questions.
The councillor (mayoral committee member) mentioned in the story, Thembinkosi Mafana, and the municipal official named, Xolani Mgxotheni, employed by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM), need to tell the residents of the metro:
- Who funded their trip?
- Was the trip sanctioned by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation in Pretoria as is the normal procedure?
- Was the NMBM’s sub-directorate of external relations (international and intergovernmental relations ) aware of the trip to China?
- Why was the South African flag hoisted in the signing ceremony so prominent if this was a private trip?
- What was the banner in the background of the photo depicting the signing ceremony, with the words written “Signing agreement between Nelson Mandela Bay and Fuzhou”, when they claim that the trip was private?
- One of the key elements of the NMBM’s international relations programmes as espoused in the international relations policy is that of preparing an annual record and evaluation of all international cooperation arrangements and events it has been involved in for public scrutiny and for submission to other government levels. Was this process followed by the two men before and after returning from their trip to China?
- Key objectives of the NMBM’s international relations policy state that any agreement entered into between the city and any country or city needs to be structured and focused such that it brings significant net benefits to the NMBM at minimal resource outlay. Was this process undertaken by the two mentioned men?
- Since the sub-committee of international relations should be the location for the planning and coordination of all official international relations, was it aware of the international trip by Mafana and Mgxotheni?
- NMBM, according to its international relations policy, takes responsibility and approves all international trips. Was this trip approved according to the policy?
- Do we have a twinning agreement with Fuzhou?
The Office of the Consul General facilitates relations between businesses and individuals of the nation states that have a diplomatic relationship. Evidence must be advanced as to what was the basis for the visa application.
This is the question that must be canvassed as it is historically recorded and archived by the Chinese Embassy or the consulate office.
Our own municipality has active partnerships in place with international cities such as Gotenborg; Jacksonville, Florida in US; Ningbo, China; Annaba, Algeria; Beira, Mozambique and Tyne and Wear Museums, Newcastle, north-east England. All foreign trips are coordinated by the office of the deputy mayor.
These are the questions that Mafana and Mgxotheni must respond to because they claim they were in China as private citizens but attending what and signing what in front of the South African flag being hoisted? My understanding is the Department of International Relations and Cooperation has publicised the national guidelines of the coordination of international relations work in all spheres of government which were adopted by cabinet.
I wonder if this signing agreement was not auctioning our city to the Chinese? You watch.
-Gift Ngqondi, Port Elizabeth