Two senior Buffalo City ANC councillors used ratepayers’ money to settle their travel and hotel expenses despite Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle securing free travel to the event.
The Daily Dispatch has seen a bill from BCM’s travel agents, Aloe Travel, for hotel accommodation, flight bookings as well as car hire for Sindiswa Gomba, Ayanda Mapisa, as well as former Ward 37 ANC Councillor, Nokuku Marwanqa.
Gomba, who is still an ANC councillor, was the outgoing women’s caucus chair, while Mapisa is serving a second term as Ward 8 councillor. The trio were not metro councillors when they travelled to Pretoria in August to take part in the 60th anniversary celebrations of the 1956 women’s march against pass laws. But the Dispatch has seen a memo Gomba wrote to deputy mayor Zoliswa Matana, who was outgoing speaker at the time, asking for funding for the trio’s travelling costs.
Head of special programmes, Ncumisa Sidukwana, later paid the R27000 bill which included R12095 for their two-night stay at the Southern Sun hotel in Pretoria, a R15258 bill for flights between East London and OR Tambo International, as well as R2527 for a car Gomba hired while in Pretoria.
The scandal comes months after the Dispatch reported that Social Development MEC Nancy Sihlwayi and her counterpart at arts and culture, MEC Pemmy Majodina, flew to the same event while 1000 women, including 100 officials and an 82-year-old ANC veteran, undertook the specially chartered 24-hour journey by train.
The train trip was meant to be a re-enactment of the journey taken by thousands of women in 1956 to protest against the pass laws.
Masualle’s office coordinated the event and assigned all six district municipalities and two metros to recruit 900 women to take the train trip. Then mayor, Alfred Mtsi, wrote approved the train trip “subject to no financial implications to the municipality for travelling and meals to the national event”.
But the Dispatch can reveal that on the same day [July 29] then-speaker Zoliswa Matana defied Mtsi’s orders and asked Sidukwana’s office to book flights, accommodation and car hire for the trio.
BCM spokesman Sibusiso Cindi said the metro was not aware of the matter and promised to look into it.
Gomba, Matana, Marwanqa and Mapisa could not be reached for comment. They did not respond to text messages either.