Embattled ANC mayor Zoleka Capa is facing another potential scandal, this time over the R3-million it cost to send a huge delegation to Zambia’s Independence Day celebrations.
She was accused this week by ANC members of running the municipality like a “spaza shop”.
This week it emerged that it cost R3-million for the municipality to send over 200 people, including councillors, a netball team, cultural ensemble, choir and soccer team to Lusaka last month.
The municipality budgeted only R1.6-million for the trip. But councillors were told to find more cash, allegedly not budgeted for, as costs rocketed to R3.15-million.
Capa was lambasted this week after the Sunday Times reported that the OR Tambo municipality had spent R45-million buying farms in another province which have fallen into a state of decay.
Lawrence Mambila, dep-uty regional ANC secretary for the OR Tambo region, said: “We cannot have a person running the municipality as if it is her own spaza shop … we cannot allow that.”
The trip to Zambia was a joint venture with Ekurhuleni Metro to celebrate the life of ANC struggle veteran Oliver Tambo.
Tambo was born at Mbizana in the Eastern Cape, lived in exile in Lusaka and was buried in Ekurhuleni.
Capa, her husband, Ndumiso, daughters Sibongile and Ntandokazi, an unidentified friend and mayoral committee members Pume-lele Ndamase and Pat Mdingi flew to Lusaka.
The rest of the delegation travelled by road – in four Intercape buses – leaving Mthatha at midday on Wednesday, October 21, arriving in Lusaka around 8pm on Friday. The convoy was led by the mayor’s white Mercedes-Benz ML 320, a municipal bakkie and a car loaded with food for the bus passengers.
Capa and family were booked into the Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka, and the rest of the delegation into other hotels.
Only 11 of the 45 municipal council members went on the trip after the ANC regional executive circulated a letter discouraging them from going. The letter, from ANC OR Tambo regional secretary Joe Sabona, said: “This serves to instruct all ANC chief whips to ensure that no ANC deployees (councillors) are forming part of the delegation to Zambia on October 23 …”
“This is just a waste of scarce government funds, at its best, thus we cannot be part of that as responsible leadership,” wrote Sabona.
The Sunday Times was told this week that a group of mayoral committee members were instructed to adjust the budget for the trip from R1.6-million to R3.15-million.
Seasoned council members said Capa’s right-hand man, councillor Solly Nduku, ordered them to source extra funds. “This was done without council approval. He told us that we have to look everywhere and get the money, because the mayor said so. We took about R300000 we had not spent for Mandela Day, as well as several other funds. Councillors were very angry because they never approved such a trip,” said a person linked to the council.
There were fireworks two days after the delegation returned home when the ANC council caucus demanded a full report on why the delegation had been increased to over 200 people, pushing up costs.
OR Tambo municipal manager Bruce Kannemeyer did not respond to repeated efforts by the Sunday Times to get comment on whether the trip had any sponsors other than the municipality.
A press statement on October 22 on behalf of Kannemeyer and Capa said the trip was “to cement historic ties and commemorate the contributions of two founding fathers of African liberation, the late ANC president Oliver Tambo and former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda”.