Premier Oscar Mabuyane must place the Transport MEC, Weziwe Tikana-Gxotiwe on precautionary special leave, and provide clarity regarding the investigation of the Department of Transport by Provincial Treasury.
More than a month has passed since the announcement of the investigation by the Premier, on 1 May, with no further details on whether the investigations have begun, if timeframes have been set, or if there have been any preliminary findings.
Yesterday’s dismissal of the MEC’s defamation case against UDM Leader Bantu Holomisa, for a tweet which exposed the fact that Micoa Lodge, belonging to the MEC’s daughter, was benefiting from accommodating COVID-19 patients in the Cala area of the Eastern Cape, is a scathing indictment on the MEC.
Judge Gerald Bloem found Holomisa’s statement that “comrades in corruption are at it again” was fair comment, given the rampant corruption at every level of government.
Not only has the MEC’s actions impugned her own character, they have brought the activities of the entire provincial government into disrepute!
The MEC and her Department has been implicated in several instances where public funds have been abused.
These include the fiasco around the use of the Miorca Lodge as a quarantine venue, as well as improper contracts to host Department of Transport Officials at the lodge for a full year.
There are also allegations of inflated prices for hand sanitisers, improper procurement of Bailey bridges and improper conduct in the expenditure for the funeral service of the Centane bus accident victims.
The common thread in all of these matters is MEC Tikana-Gxotiwe.
I have therefore written to the Premier, to request a full update on the investigation, including timeframes, and have requested that the report be presented to the Transport Portfolio Committee at the soonest possible convenience.
The Shadow MEC for Public Works in the Eastern Cape, Vicky Knoetze and I are also awaiting responses to parliamentary question put to the executive, relating to the procurement processes that were followed in procuring COVID-19 quarantine sites.
The Premier needs to ensure the allegations have been thoroughly investigated and reviewed. If the Premier is truly committed to instilling a culture of good and clean cooperate governance, he needs to take action against this wayward MEC.