The mayor of a cash-strapped Eastern Cape municipality has been accused of stealing cattle from a municipal pound and slaughtering them for a ceremony at her home.
Enoch Mgijima mayor Lindiwe Gunuza-Nkwentsha confirmed yesterday that the council had resolved to form a task team to investigate claims that “cattle went missing from the municipal pound”.
But she denied “stealing anything” from the municipality, saying “my hands are clean”.
She said she became aware of the missing cattle when opposition members protested at the last council meeting.
The investigation follows an EFF protest at the council meeting two weeks ago, where the opposition party at the Queenstown-based council submitted a petition to council speaker Mziwoxolo Peter with the allegations.
In the petition, seen by the Dispatch, the EFF claims they had received a tip-off from a whistleblower alleging that Gunuza-Nkwentsha used a municipal truck in December to transport cattle taken from the municipal pound to her Tarkastad home, where they were slaughtered for a traditional ceremony.
EFF leader in the council Luthando Amos confirmed yesterday that the party had raised the matter at the last council meeting.
“The ANC-led council opted to institute an internal investigation, which will take a long time to get to the bottom of.
“We view this as gross misuse of power by the mayor because not only did she misuse a municipal truck for her personal use, but allegedly stole from the pound,” said Amos.
Amos said the EFF received a tip last month that the mayor hosted a traditional event at her Tarkastad home where the cattle she had bought for the festivities died.
Asked if she had hosted any traditional ceremonies in Tarkastad last December, the mayor said: “I don’t want to answer any further questions because this matter is under investigation. Whether there was such an event or not, it won’t help to confirm or deny that.”
The matter has since been referred to the ANC’s Chris Hani regional leadership.
Regional secretary Lusanda Sizani confirmed yesterday they had instructed ANC chief whip Funeka Sopapazi to submit a full report.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Sopapazi said the details of what had happened remained sketchy.
“We are still waiting for details as well,” Sopapazi added.
Municipal spokesman Fundile Feketshane would not respond on whether there were cattle missing from the municipal pound. — firstname.lastname@example.org