Delegates at ANC's Dr WB Rubusana regional conference. Picture: ANA

East London - African National Congress Eastern Cape chairman Oscar Mabuyane has praised those people who have come forward to give testimony about state capture at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry.

Speaking at the ANC Dr WB Rubusana regional conference in East London on Saturday, Mabuyane also praised those who had resisted state capture.
 
"We must commend men and women that refused to sell their souls despite various offers and carrots dangled in front of them. The actions of the likes of cde Mcebisi Jonas and cde Themba Maseko should inspire those of us who have already sold their souls to liberate ourselves from individuals that are attempting to capture our souls," he said.
 
"As we watch the proceedings unfold we are reminded of a period where the organisation [ANC] was used as an instrument to capture the state in order to allow for massive looting of public resources. At the core of state, capture is an uncontrollable desire by certain individuals who want to accumulate wealth through stealing public funds."

Mabuyane warned that state capture did not only happen at national level but also in other spheres, including local government. 

The conference was meant to start on Friday morning but was delayed for 12 hours due to endless disputes. Regional chairman Xola Pakati, who is also Buffalo City mayor, is up against regional secretary Phumlani Mkolo, who faces fraud and corruption charges related to the scandal surrounding the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela.

Mabuyane warned delegates against voting for those offering benefits in return for votes. "It is true that there may be some among us who seek to win this conference in order to have full control over the organisation in the region, and thus use it as a tool to loot resources of the metro."

He also warned against patronage, saying "let us stop using the state to peddle lies against each other. Let us stop using the state to disperse patronage to one another. This is going to collapse the ANC. Our conferences should not be about destroying the organisation". 

On service delivery issues, Mabuyane said the problem in Eastern Cape municipalities was not a lack of money, but failure to spend money which had been allocated. Eastern Cape municipalities returned about R700 million to the National Treasury after failing to spend it.

"The reason money doesn't get spent is because we look at the faces of those that should get tenders. Tenders get issued and reissued, but service providers never get to be appointed until the financial year ends. In the end, we pay people performance bonuses, yet they did not perform," Mabuyane said.
 
He lambasted the Buffalo City metro as one of those who failed to spend the money allocated. "Not so long ago we convened the caucus of the ANC in the council to get an understanding on what led to the underspending when there is so much service delivery backlogs in the municipality, especially in working-class communities. What made things worse was the reported fiscal dumping to the value of R1.6 billion," Mabuyane said.

ANC support in the region had dropped by 10 percent in the last local government elections and this could lead to the loss of another metro. 
 
"Comrades, we cannot afford to lose a second metro in the province, and if we don’t change how we do things, how we relate to each other as councillors deployed by the same organisation, we are heading that route. The revenue collection in the municipality is extremely poor compared to other metros in the country," Mabuyane said.

Many residents of Buffalo City were looking to the conference to renew their hopes, but that would be determined by the leadership which would emerge at the conference, he said.

The conference carried on throughout the night and voting for the new leadership was concluded in the early hours of Saturday morning. 

African News Agency/ANA