Rural Development MEC again snubs legislature about development agency

Athol Trollip MPL

Spokesperson on Rural Development and Agrarian Reform

The Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature is in Bizana this week for the annual “Taking Legislature to the People”-programme.

Rural Development and Agrarian Reform MEC Zoleka Capa’s refusal today to give a proper reply to oral questions by the DA about the Ntinga OR Tambo Development Agency highlights her disdain for the Legislature and her attitude of not being accountable to the people.

My question, sent to her well in advance, related to the involvement of Ntinga OR Tambo Development Agency in being contracted by the MEC’s department to do work in areas outside of the OR Tambo district.  Mrs. Capa had absolutely no specific facts and resorted to giving a rambling, evasive and unprepared response about her dual role as former mayor of OR Tambo District Municipality and now as MEC.  She was appalling and tried to justify the unjustifiable.   For my question, click here.

Questions around this development agency, of which Capa’s husband, Ndumiso, was the former CEO, go back as far as 2008, when I was given evasive answers.

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 were managed by the Ntinga OR Tambo Development Agency when Ndumiso Capa was the CEO.

During a Legislature sitting on 26 September last year, MEC Capa declined to respond to oral questions about the purchase by my colleague, Veliswa Mvenya, by shifting the responsibility for reply to the current mayor of the OR District Municipality and the Department of Local Government.

Despite writing to the Speaker, Fikile Xasa, the DA is yet to receive a proper reply and 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.

In July this year the Daily Dispatch revealed that the MEC’s husband had a debt of R267 400 in unpaid bills and interest owed to the Eastern Cape Rural Finance Corporation (ECRFC), of which the MEC is the political head.

The MEC’s obvious conflict of interest and the continued failure of the ANC to act, gives the impression that Zoleka Capa is untouchable because she is a member of the party’s National Executive Committee.

It remains to be seen whether my request to the Speaker of the Legislature, Fikile Xasa (who is also an NEC-member) for a comprehensive written response to my question will materialise.

The attitude of the MEC towards 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.