Former mayor in court on fraud charges

2012-05-15 11:25

East London’s magistrate’s court temporarily came to a standstill today when disgraced former Buffalo City metro mayor Zukisa Faku, now chairperson of the ANC’s Buffalo City region, appeared on fraud charges.

Faku faces nine counts of fraud relating to her alleged use of the city’s municipal credit card during a trip to Turkey in 2009, and also at boutique clothing stores and fast food outlets. The case was postponed to June 25.

It has been previously reported that she owed the city in the region of R40 000 – R15 000 of which was allegedly spent in Turkey.

Today, throngs of her supporters braved the cold and rain and gathered inside and outside court under the banner of the “friends of Zukisa Faku” – a group formed to help her through the court case.

Carrying placards alleging a political conspiracy, the group sang adapted liberation struggle songs in defence of Faku, saying she was the victim of an internal ANC conspiracy to distract her attention from the upcoming ANC national elective conference.

One of the group’s spokespeople, Nomthunzi Mbiko, said: “It’s clear there is an ANC faction that wants her to succumb so that when she goes to Mangaung she’ll be in someone’s pocket. It’s a vendetta because she is chairperson of this region.”

Mbiko said at the time of the alleged indiscretion Faku herself brought it to the municipality’s attention and entered into an agreement to repay the money she had misused. “In Turkey she was with seven other councillors and all their personal cards didn’t work, so she used her municipal card.”

In 2009 council resolved that she pay back the money because it found there was no policy on the use of the credit card, Mbiko added.

Addressing her supporters outside court, Faku also alluded to a political conspiracy, but put up a brave face.

“It is well with my soul ... I won’t talk about the case because you know what is happening.

“I just want to thank you for braving this rain and coming out to support me. There are many leaders in the history of the ANC who have been persecuted, some of them were destroyed to the point of leaving politics and died having been destroyed by other comrades. But I’m blessed because I have your support, that’s why I’m saying it’s well with my soul,” she said.

Silumko Bushula, another spokesperson for the group, said the Hawks called Faku, asking for her statement on the matter.
Charges had been laid by fellow ANC member Mziwodumo Dliwayo, who has since said he is no longer interested in pursuing it.

Bushula said after Faku emerged victorious at the highly contested ANC regional conference in March, threats had been made about reviving the case. “Two weeks down the line from the conference she gets a call that police wanted her to give a statement ... you can’t help but think there’s some dirty politics here,” he said.

Faku was also implicated in a Ernst and Young forensic investigation, which looked into the alleged misuse of more than R2 billion of the city’s budget in 2010.

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