More youth league regions join call for action against MEC

Transport MEC Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe disinfects a taxi at the Njoli rank in Port Elizabeth .
CENTRE OF STORM: Transport MEC Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe disinfects a taxi at the Njoli rank in Port Elizabeth .

Two ANC Youth League regions in the Eastern Cape have joined the calls for action against transport MEC Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe for what they said were scandals involving her department.

The youth league in the Nelson Mandela Bay region and Alfred Nzo joined the OR Tambo and Chris Hani regions in their call for  Tikana-Gxothiwe to be recalled or suspended pending the outcome of an investigation.

The issue is about the use of  Mioca Lodge, owned by Tikana-Gxothiwe’s daughter Kwakhanya Tikana, to quarantine 14 patients in Cala.

Though Tikana-Gxothiwe denied any involvement in the procurement of her daughter’s lodge, some believe she used her influence as an MEC to benefit her family.

In a statement, the Bay youth league task team expressed frustration at the allegations of corruption and nepotism levelled against the MEC.

“We also noted that the investigation comes in addition to an already existing woe of the MEC, in that she still has not acted on the report compiled by the Public Service Commission into allegations of the irregular appointment of staff, consultants and contractors in her department.

“Our view is that the MEC, together with all the officials that are said to be involved in her department’s scandals, should be placed under immediate suspension until the conclusion of the investigation, after which a way forward can be derived.”

“We make this call based on our conviction to ensure that such atrocious acts are arrested and curbed in our provincial government and to ensure that the forensic investigation conducted by the provincial treasurer is concluded without any interference,” the Bay youth league said.

The youth league of Alfred Nzo accused Tikana of being “no stranger to scandals”, even bringing up an old scandal involving a digital smartpens contract at the department of Cogta while Tikana was still an official.

“The MEC is never a stranger [to] alleged looting scandals but she has the sheer fortune of having her own scandals swept under the carpet,” the Alfred Nzo league said.

“It is important to remind ourselves that the department of transport is not the private property of the MEC and any investigation that should be conducted should be commissioned by the premier [Oscar Mabuyane].

“She has displayed to us that she does not act on any recommendations of investigations conducted in her department by not acting on the recommendations of the Public Service Commission report.”

Regional secretary Abongile Ganya said they were mindful of pronounced investigations on the matter involving the Cala quarantine facility, “but it is our view that she does not represent the interests of the people of this province and therefore must be recalled with immediate effect”.

“Her immediate removal  will refocus you and your team to the sterling job you have recorded so far in fighting the spread of the virus to prevent deaths.”

Both the Chris Hani and Alfred Nzo youth league structures have praised public works MEC Babalo Madikizela for his leadership.

It comes as Madikizela’s support base is said to be growing, with some within the party’s structures rooting for him to take over as ANC provincial chair in 2021.

Tikana-Gxothiwe’s spokesperson Unathi Binqose said calls for the MEC to either take special leave or be reshuffled were premature and baseless as she had publicly welcomed a forensic probe, pledging that her department would co-operate fully, and all the books would be opened to investigators.

“Calls for her to take special leave have no basis and are unjustified at a time when the province needs all hands on deck to fight off the spread of Covid-19 and MEC Tikana-Gxothiwe has been at the forefront of that fight,” Binqose said, adding that those who had evidence of wrongdoing were urged to report it to the police.

Mabuyane’s spokesperson Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha said the premier had appointed a team from the provincial Treasury to investigate the allegations of impropriety made against the department of transport.

He said the investigation team was not appointed by the MEC of transport, as alleged, and there was no real evidence supporting the view that the investigation was being frustrated by the department.

Sicwetsha said the PSC report was interdicted by some of the employees implicated, which meant the implementation of the recommendations would be determined by the outcome of the court process.

“The MEC never refused to implement the report.”

He said that Mabuyane, together with the MECs of the provincial government, continued to work as a collective to implement the Covid-19 containment and mitigation strategy aimed at saving the lives of the people of the Eastern Cape.

“It is strange that there is a growing number of young people from the ANC joining this out-of-tune chorus demanding the removal of the MEC without providing concrete evidence proving their allegations against the MEC,” Sicwetsha said.

“This co-ordinated effort of tossing syndicated statements to the media does not mean those peddling these allegations against the MEC have proof of what they are saying.

“None of these statements contain proof of what is being alleged,” he said.