East London - The African National Congress (ANC) in Eastern Cape has on Monday, called on Premier Phumulo Masualle to work with the organisation despite his differences with the current provincial leadership.
Masualle failed to appear before the ANC Provincial Executive Committee meeting on Monday where he was summoned by the party provincial bosses together with Buffalo City Metro mayor Xola Pakati, OR Tambo District mayor Nomakhosazana Meth and King Sabata Dalindyebo mayor Dumani Zozo.
All four were summoned to account on behalf of provincial government and their municipalities respectively following damning corruption findings by the Public Protector on the Nelson Mandela funeral report.
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkwebane released the report after a three year investigation on which she found irregular spending of R300 million which was diverted from government programmes towards the funeral preparations of former president Nelson Mandela.
But Masualle who has constantly defied meeting with the ANC provincial leadership was not present, while Pakati, Meth and Zozo were in attendance.
The ANC provincial secretary, Lulama Ngcukayitobi said Masualle had excused himself due to other commitments.
"The Premier [Masualle] said he could not meet with us, as he is in consultation with the lawyers in relation to the same matters [Mandela funeral scandal]," said Ngcukayitobi.
Masualle was defeated by Oscar Mabuyane in the ANC provincial conference which degenerated into chaos, with members throwing chairs at each other.
When Ngcukayitobi was asked on whether Masualle's absence has to do with him not recognising the current provincial leadership, he said: "There are two matters, one of him being a member of the ANC, he has every right to appeal decisions of the party if he feels are prejudicial and disagrees with them. But as the premier he has to work with the organisation."
Ngcukayitobi said further questions could be directed to Masualle.
When asked for comment on Masualle's absence at the PEC meeting on Monday, his spokesperson Sonwabo Mbananga said: "The Office of the Premier will not be commenting on the above enquiry. Kindly refer this matter to the African National Congress for a response."
Meanwhile, the ANC said the provincial legislature should set up an adhoc committee on the Mandela funeral scandal to conduct a thorough investigation. Ngcukayitobi said the party is very concerned about serious allegations against provincial director general Marion Mbina Mthembu.
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"Currently she is the superintendent of the provincial government and secretary of the cabinet, unfortunately we do not want such scandals hoovering above the person that should be overseeing the entire administration of the Eastern Cape. If it was somebody within the ANC we would be calling for her to recuse herself during the process of investigation," said Ngcukayitobi.
He said the ANC would meet with the provincial speaker Noxolo Kiviet and chief whip of the legislature, Mzoleli Mrara to relay organisational mandate to the legislature.