Eastern Cape COGTA MEC Hon. Xolile Nqatha has suspended two Buffalo City Metro Municipality councillors without pay for a period of three months for violating Municipal Systems Act. The suspension of Councillor Nicky Vitbooi and Councillor Kuhle Ciliza is effective from today (20 January 2021).

Councillor Vitbooi’s suspension is informed by the following allegations:

● Distribution of Food Parcels: Ward Councillor Ms Vitbooi utilised the services of the Area Committee instead of the Ward Committee in the identification of beneficiaries for food parcels during the period of the Lockdown. These Area Committee members passed other houses allegedly not aligned to the Ward Councillor. The criteria for selection was never discussed with the CDW and community members.

● Fraud and Corruption: She is also alleged that she took half of the money that was allocated for burial of a destitute family which was paid out by the municipality and directed the money to her own needs. Certain members of the community took the matter to Court and as such the case is still on going.

Councillor Ciliza has been suspended for the following allegations:

● Distribution of Food Parcels: In this ward, there was an indication that Councillor Ciliza utilised the services of Area Committee instead of the elected Ward Committee. It is alleged that there were people who received the vouchers although they were not coming from the same ward but rather from areas like Mooiplaas, there was a duplication of people in getting food parcels/vouchers and mischievous act of changing of list to benefit people who were not identified earlier.

● Fraud and Corruption: Ms Ciliza is further alleged that she solicited bribe of R50 000 from an artist. He also illegally evacuated Ms Ngxoweni from a house thus leading to damage to the assets of Ms. Ngxoweni and the matter was taken to Court, as a result he is paying at Small Claims Court for damages that were incurred.

Ms Vitbooi and Ms Ciliza have been suspended for violating Item 2 (b) of schedule 1 of the Code of Conduct for Councillors of the Municipal Systems Act (MSA) which states that “A councillor must at all times act in the best interest of the municipality and in such a way that credibility and integrity of the municipality are not compromised”.

Both councillors Ms Vitbooi and Ms Ciliza have been suspended from office in terms of 14 (6)(b) of the Code of Conduct.

“The MEC decided to take up these cases after the failure of the council to act dispite the gravity of the cases and negative impact to government renewal and good governance. The need to take action against wrong doing is in the deepest interest of building public confidence to government institutions”, said MEC Nqatha

The honourable speaker of Buffalo City Metro Municipality has been informed about the suspension of the two councillors.

For further information , please contact: Mr Makhaya Komisa (MLO) on 0663818259 or Mr Mamnkeli Ngam (Department spokesperson) on 071 685 7981