The reluctance of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform MEC Zoleka Capa to reveal the facts around farms purchased while she was mayor of the OR Tambo District Municipality has revealed her utter disdain for the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature as an institution.

I have today written to the Speaker, Fikile Xasa, to request a proper answer to my question which was posed during oral question time at sitting of the Legislature yesterday (subs: Wed, 26 Sept).

Since 2008 over R55 million has been paid out for the purchase and management of five farms in Kwazulu-Natal on behalf of the OR Tambo District Municipality. The farms are allegedly managed by the Ntinga OR Tambo Development Agency, of which Capa’s husband is the CEO. For a copy of my oral question, click here:

Question 14

This matter was first raised in August 2008 by Athol Trollip when he was a member of the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature and was given an evasive answer.  It remains a mystery what direct benefit the purchase of these farms has had for the people of OR Tambo and who the identified beneficiaries are.

Barely a week ago MEC Capa again revealed her nonchalant attitude after the DA questioned her conflict of interest, being MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform coupled with her faming endeavours in OR Tambo and her background as mayor of the area.  On 14 September the Daily Dispatch reported that Capa said she “would respond one day to the suggestion she had a conflict in interest in the Ntinga OR Tambo Development Agency”.

During yesterday’s sitting Capa declined to respond to my questions – to the obvious embarrassment of her ANC colleagues — by shifting the responsibility for reply to the current mayor of the OR District Municipality and the Department of Local Government.

This reply is neither acceptable nor parliamentary. The MEC is responsible for accounting to the House by virtue of being the MEC of Rural Development and Agrarian Affairs.

The failure of the ANC to act when the first allegations of mismanagement were made gives the impression that Capa is untouchable because she is a member of the party’s National Executive Committee.

The attitude of the MEC for the Legislature, which has been mandated to hold the government accountable for its actions, reveals her disrespect not only for the institution but for the people of the Eastern Cape.  When we ask questions to the MECs, we are asking them on behalf of the people of this province.

I will continue to hold the MEC accountable.