MEC for Social Development Nancy Sihlwayi Picture: @GCISMedia/Twitter

Port Elizabeth - The African National Congress (ANC) in the Eastern Cape on Monday lashed out against an Eastern Cape MEC, putting the blame on her for the failure of the 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Child Abuse event held in Nelson Mandela Bay at the weekend. 

President Jacob Zuma failed to show up at the poorly attended launch of the annual campaign at Nelson Mandela University Missionvale Campus in Port Elizabeth on Saturday. 

Zuma was billed to address the event scheduled to start at 10 am, but a statement issued by the presidency some time afterwards said he would be represented at the event by Minister in the Presidency responsible for women Susan Shabangu. 

No reason was given for the change. At the time, Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle told those present that Zuma did not attend the event because “it was behind schedule”.  

However, ANC Provincial Secretary, Lulama Ngcukayitobi put the blame on MEC for Social Development Nancy Sihlwayi and said the event was deliberately sabotaged by her.  

"The event was deliberately sabotaged by the MEC for Social Development – Ms Nancy Sihlwayi who out of stubbornness and recklessness, decided against both the advice and decision of all authoritative bodies to remove the pre-planned event from Alfred Ndzo to Nelson Mandela Metro only to satisfy her thirst to serve the factional political attitude.  

"We know as a matter of fact that no president would in any straight mind had embraced an event which was as disorganised as the one hosted on Saturday(25 November 2017), whose principal aim was to distribute ANC factional T-shirts."  

At the time, some people in the crowd expressed their disappointment, saying they were looking forward to bid Zuma "farewell”. Others were quick to say they suspected the poor attendance was the actual reason for his no-show. Some people also used the event to hand out T-shirts backing Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's candidacy for the presidency of the ANC.  

Ngcukayitobi rejected the "abuse of state resources" and the "abuse of political office by a member of the executive", adding that the "arrogance shown" by Sihlwayi would not be tolerated anymore. 

Ngcukayitobi called on Sihlwayi to explain why she changed the location of the event, also asking how much money was spent on the failed launch and how she would reimburse the public purse for her "misjudgment".