ANC caucus told to pay R3.4m to Matiti

The divided ANC caucus in the Buffalo City Metro council seems set on Wednesday to forge ahead with a decision to support the payment of R3.4m to boxing promoter Ayanda Matiti’s company for a tournament that took place last month.

This comes after the ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) led by provincial secretary Lulama Ngcukayitobi and spokesperson Stella Ndabeni on Sunday summoned the metro ANC councillors and allegedly “ordered” them to go ahead with the decision to support the sports sponsorship payment as per the caucus’ decision taken last month.

However, Ngcukayitobi denied these allegations. On Monday he told the Dispatch: “The PEC did not order the councillors to do anything…[We] did not discuss it.”

Councillors were summoned to the party’s Calata House, with some councillors not in support of the sponsorship decision.

Three BCM council meetings collapsed last month when some ANC councillors and opposition parties did not attend the meetings in protest to approving the R3.4m to fund the former ANC youth leader Matiti’s “5th Annual celebrations of Madiba as a Boxer” event.

A councillor who asked not to be named said: “We are in trouble. We were simply told that we must stick to the decision that was taken last month. It’s like we were being threatened in a way. We were told this matter was already resolved and therefore on Wednesday’s meeting we will support it once again when the item is tabled.

“We were questioned as to why the meetings collapsed last month; asked why there was no unity in the party and why the centre does not hold.

“Our core business as a metro is delivering services to the communities but we are always spending millions of rands sponsoring events that don’t even benefit our ratepayers. We have so many promoters here why is Matiti the only one who should receive money when there was no advert that called on applicants to submit their applications,” the councillor said.

ANC chief whip Mzwandile Vaaiboom confirmed Sunday’s meeting, saying: “We were told to stop fighting in council and stop embarrassing the name of the organisation. We were reminded to set aside our personal agendas as caucus decisions are binding.”

Vaaiboom added: “We will consult with our legal department and find out the implications and if we are correct or not. We will find out what our sponsorship policy says about an event that has already taken place. ”

Ngcukayitobi said all the party was trying to do was to remind its caucuses across the Eastern Cape municipalities to remain united and focused on their mandate.

The BCM ANC council caucus is divided between those who support mayor Xola Pakati in his bid to serve a second term as ANC’s Dr WB Rubusana chair when the region holds its elective conference this week, and those who support suspended regional secretary Pumlani Mkolo.

Mkolo’s key supporters, including deputy mayor Zoliswa Matana, councillors Sindiswa Gomba and Luleka Simon-Ndzele, were absent at the last two meetings. Gomba and Matana have argued against the caucus decision of supporting the proposal that Xaba Promotions receives the funding.

There is a sports committee to determine sponsorship issues, but the committee is allowed to only approve funding under R400,000. Any more must be approved by council.

Ngcukayitobi said the PEC would also summon council caucuses in Joe Gqabi and Amathole municipalities. They had been to Nelson Mandela metro, Chris Hani and OR Tambo districts to build capacity from within their caucuses, he said.