Pretoria - Three top ANC Eastern Cape politicians linked to the Nelson Mandela funeral fraud trial have failed to qualify to be elected to the party’s provincial executive committee (PEC) despite meeting the requirements.
The three are former MEC for Health Sindiswa Gomba, erstwhile Buffalo City mayor Zukiswa Ncitha and suspended former Amathole regional chairperson Phumlani Mkolo.
They were named among the 69 candidates who made the ANC’s threshold to be elected to the 30-member PEC at the provincial elective conference held in East London.
The three are part of a group of accused who allegedly duped the Buffalo City Metro into believing that it had to contribute to Mandela’s funeral service in December 2013.
They are charged with fraud, money laundering and contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act. Despite the charges against them, all three were nominated to serve on the PEC but were not named in the group of 30 PEC members yesterday.
It is believed that Gomba had also fallen out of favour with newly elected ANC provincial chairperson Oscar Mabuyane’s faction over her public spat with the premier following her sacking as Health MEC in February 2021.
The sacking came after the Special Investigating Unit implicated her and the former Health head Dr Thobile Mbengashe in the alleged irregular procurement of scooter ambulances at a cost of R10 million by the provincial Department of Health.
The PEC is loaded with Mabuyane’s supporters. Among them is MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Xolile Nqatha. Nqatha was named as acting Health MEC following the sacking of Gomba.
Nanziwe Rulashe, the Amathole District councillor who was dragged out of the municipal building by security guards and later had shots fired at her home earlier this year, also made it to the PEC. Rulashe has strong ties with Mabuyane.
Also elected to the PEC is Alfred Nzo regional chairperson Sixolile Mehlomakhulu, who in 2020 faced allegations of domestic violence and also allegedly awarded his son a bursary from Alfred Nzo Municipality’s funds to study at one of the top universities in the country.
Sisi Tolashe, former ANC Women’s League general secretary during Angie Motshekga’s presidency and Mabuyane’s ally, also made it to the PEC.
Former Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Andile Lungisa, who supported Mabuyane’s rival Babalo Madikizela, was the only person who sneaked into the newly ANC Eastern Cape provincial executive. Lungisa had initially contested for the position of provincial treasurer at the elective conference but only managed to secure 673 votes, while his rival and soon-to-be former Joe Gqabi Local Municipality’s municipal manager, Zolile Williams, won the race with 799 votes.
After the ANC’s Oscar Mabuyane’s slate, which includes his deputy Mlungisi Mvoko, provincial secretary Lulama Ngcukayitobi and his deputy Helen Sauls-August emerged victorious, the losers were invited by the electoral commission for inclusion on the list of nominees for the 30-member provincial executive committee. They include Lungisa, Madikizela, Xolile Nkompela and Teris Ntuthu.
Lungisa, Madikizela and Nkompela accepted the nomination but Ntuthu declined, opting to continue as regional secretary of Amathole Region – one of the biggest ANC regions in the Eastern Cape.
After the elections, Lungisa was the only person who made it to the PEC while Madikizela and Nkompela failed to make the cut. Madikizela served as provincial treasurer after the controversial 2017 elections which initially elected Mabuyane as chairperson.
Insiders said Madikizela’s exclusion could be attributed to comments he made to the media that he intends to step in as Public Works MEC and had been planning to do so for two years. Others say his exclusion was linked to his decision to challenge Mabuyane for the position; for that reason that the newly elected PEC has a majority supporters of Mabuyane in it.
Also excluded was another contender, Mlibo Qoboshiyane. He was one of three contenders for the provincial chairperson position. He had been an ANC Eastern Cape PEC member since 2005 but failed to make it, said to be due to his decision to challenge Mabuyane and to support Madikizela.
Political analyst Dr Mkhuseli Vimba said the outcome of the PEC elections did not mean Mabuyane was enjoying majority support ; evident by the split in the vote; unlike in 2017 when he got a substantial number of votes to be elected as provincial chairperson.”