DA slams Eastern Cape Cogta MEC for urging no disciplinary action be taken against officials suspected of wrongdoing if they have Covid-19

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has strongly condemned utterances made by Eastern MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta), Xolile Nqatha, at the memorial service of the late Buffalo City Metro Speaker, Alfred Mtsi.

“The MEC’s comments highlight the extent to which the Eastern Cape has become the epicentre of corruption, and how the lack of consequence management is spreading like the virus,” DA shadow MEC for Cogta, Vicky Knoetze said in a statement today.

Cogta MEC Xolile Nqatha

In the video circulating on social media Nqatha is clearly heard stating that it is “unANC” and “not comradely” to contemplate disciplinary action against anyone who must be held accountable for wrongdoing if that person is in quarantine because he is ill. He said officials facing disciplinary action would already be too stressed and that the challenges of the Coronavirus do not “require a stressed cadreship”.

He further intimated that if action is to be taken against anyone in quarantine, their immune system may not be able to handle it and that they will die.

Watch video here: https://www.dabhisho.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/COGTA-MEC-speech.mp4?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=0716%20Knoetze%20DA%20condemns%20utterances%20By%20COGTA%20MEC&utm_content=0716%20Knoetze%20DA%20condemns%20utterances%20By%20COGTA%20MEC+CID_cefe82aef7ab9b59bafe6ba0b24586b9&utm_source=Email%20marketing%20software&utm_term=here

“The MEC has already started backtracking, saying his words have been taken out of context, so perhaps we should look at the context of his utterances. That context being collapsing local government, where senior ANC cadres, deployed to municipalities, are facing serious allegations of fraud, corruption and maladministration,” Knoetze said.

She provided examples.

  • Buffalo City Municipality City manager, Andile Sihlahla, who faces suspension for the poor audit outcomes and incriminatory Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) findings against him;
  • Suspended OR Tambo District municipal manager, Owen Hlazo, who faces criminal charges for fraud, theft and corruption related to financial mismanagement of R168-million. This, while invoices to the amount of R4.8-million for door-to-door activities are also still under investigation;
  • The municipal manager of Ndlambe Municipality, Rolly Dumezweni, whom the DA has requested be suspended after the Grahamstown High Court set aside an unlawful tender awarded to Quality Filtration Systems (QFS) for the Port Alfred desalination plant;
  • The 11 officials at the Mbhashe Municipality, who are under investigation by the Special Investigating Unit relating to a R106-million yellow plant machinery and equipment tender.

“Auditor-General (AG) Kimi Makwetu’s latest report on the audit outcomes for local government tells a story of widespread lack of financial controls and project monitoring in the Eastern Cape, with a culture of lack of accountability and a tolerance of transgressions, which has resulted in a further regression in audit outcomes in the province,” Knoetze said.

“This is the context of MEC Nqatha’s words.”

The DA has referred the matter to the Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane and have asked him to investigate Nqatha’s utterances.

“There is no word in the English language such as ‘unANC’. There are words like ‘unconstitutional’, ‘unjust’ and ‘unacceptable’ which could all be used to describe the comments made by the MEC,” Knoetze said.

“While it is understood that that people who are ill must be treated humanely – that should also apply to the larger population of South Africa, who are left to bear the brunt of the looting, thieving and corruption by cadres that steal money that was meant for their benefit.

“Those implicated may be stressed in quarantine, but they did not appear stressed when they deliberately stole from the people of South Africa. The law must be applied swiftly and to its full extent.”

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