Sack DG for funeral scandal

2018-06-03 12:00
A guest holding a program during the funeral service at the Mandela farm in Qunu Eastern Cape on Sunday. Photo: Felix Dlangamandla

A guest holding a program during the funeral service at the Mandela farm in Qunu Eastern Cape on Sunday. Photo: Felix Dlangamandla

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The ANC in the Eastern Cape has renewed efforts to get the province’s director-general (DG) Marion Mbina-Mthembu sacked and criminally charged for the Nelson Mandela funeral scandal.

Three highly placed sources within the ANC and provincial government said the Oscar Mabuyane-led provincial executive committee recently informed Premier Phumulo Masualle of their unhappiness with Mbina-Mthembu and told him to get rid of her.

In December, the ANC in the province wanted Mbina-Mthembu to take voluntary leave after Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report into the Mandela funeral scandal was released.

The report singled out the director-general as the main reason millions of rands were abused by various government entities for Mandela’s funeral in 2013.

Mbina-Mthembu was head of provincial planning and treasury when alleged irregularities in the province’s procurement processes were investigated by the Public Protector.

Three weeks ago City Press reported that Mbina-Mthembu had taken the remedial actions of the Public Protector on review. At issue for Mbina-Mthembu was the Public Protector’s findings that the provincial government misused R300m. Mbina-Mthembu insisted that of the R300m, only R35.9m was used.

She now wants Mkhwebane to explain how she arrived at her decision.

The money was allegedly used to buy KFC and McDonald’s meals, as well as T-shirts and transport for mourners to different memorial services in the province.

Mkhwebane said she intended to defend her findings if Mbina-Mthembu went to court to have them reviewed.

An ANC source said the party was not happy that Mbina-Mthembu challenged the Public Protector’s findings when the ANC had clearly directed that all implicated people and institutions should implement Mkhwebane’s remedial actions.

The source said the party was incensed that she went against its call that those who wanted to challenge the findings do so in their personal capacity, and with money that doesn’t come from the state.

“This has been long overdue. The leadership feels the DG is not the right person for the job and has communicated this view to the premier for him to ask her to resign,” said a senior ANC source.

Another source said Mbina-Mthembu and provincial leaders caused a scene at provincial party headquarters, Calata House. “That is not done. She had no business going there as an official of government, shouting and screaming,” said another ANC source.

"It concerns us because she is a conflicted person"

Provincial ANC secretary Lulama Ngcukayithobi said the party stood by its decision that those implicated should implement the Public Protector’s remedial actions.

“It was not only the provincial government that was implicated in the Mandela scandal. All other entities, including municipalities, had followed the remedial action defined by the Public Protector.

“We are worried about the provincial government, about its own approach to the Public Protector’s remedial actions ... If Mbina-Mthembu is taking that particular matter on review using state resources, it concerns us because she is a conflicted person.

“Other mechanisms could have been explored. She is the one person that is highly implicated in that particular matter,” said Ngcukayithobi.

He said if it was the premier who wanted to review the matter, the party would have been able to deal with him at a political level but because it was now Mbina-Mthembu, an employee of government, it was the provincial government that needed to take action.

Asked whether they had asked premier Masualle to ask Mbina-Mthembu to resign, Ngcukayithobi said: “We have talked to the premier about her and our unhappiness about the provincial administration.

“We are on record as far as that particular matter is concerned.”

Ngcukayithobi said the provincial ANC was still amazed by how she stormed into the offices in December demanding to speak to the leadership.

“It was unprecedented. She stormed in and insulted people and threatened the organisation, but history will be the judge in that particular matter.”

The provincial secretary said criminal charges should be instituted against all those implicated in the Mandela scandal.

Ngcukayithobi said the party welcomed the proclamation signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa for a Special Investigating Unit probe into the Mandela funeral scandal.

“Objectively speaking, names that are mentioned in the Public Protector report are names of the same people that are at the core of the administration of the provincial government,” he said.

“So that intervention from the president is highly welcomed.”

Mbina-Mthembu said this week: “I don’t have a comment. They cannot say that to me so I don’t have to comment. They can say that to the premier. I am sure they are saying that to the premier. They must go and talk to the premier. That’s the best they can do, not me.”

Masualle’s spokesperson, Sonwabo Mbananga, said the Office of the Premier was not aware of any communication from the provincial ANC directing the premier to order Mbina-Mthembu to resign.

“We wish to emphatically point out that there is a difference between a political party that is deploying a political representative to government wanting to then subsequently recall or redeploy such deployees, and a scenario of an individual being employed as a civil servant in government and having a contract of employment with government,” Mbananga said.

He said Mbina-Mthembu and the premier had a contract in place.

“In so far as the calls for the removal of the DG is concerned, our response and attitude is that there are processes to be followed.

“There are certain conditions, a regulatory framework that would have to be looked to in so far as testing the reasons for the call for the removal of the DG. “We live in a country of laws and of due processes. So, any such calls for the removal of the DG would have to be informed through those mechanisms.”

TALK TO US

Is the ANC correct in calling for action against the DG? SMS us on 35697 using the keyword FUNERAL and tell us what you think. Include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50

TALK TO US

Should implicated DG Marion Mbina-Mthembu be sacked and criminally charged? SMS us on 35697 using the keyword EC and tell us what you think. Include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50

Read more on:    anc  |  marion mbina-mthembu  |  nelson mandela

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