'I never handed over cattle to Zuma for his personal gain'- former mayor

Former OR Tambo district municipality mayor Zoleka Capa, who is now chair of parliament’s portfolio committee on social development, says she never handed over cattle to former president Jacob Zuma for his own personal benefit.

“It was a handing over, by the time I was MEC so that he [Zuma] could distribute them to the people,” Capa said. 

“There has never been cattle being taken by me to Jacob Zuma. Why would I do that?,” Capa told News24.

Capa was responding to allegations published in Sunday Times.

According to the report prized cows worth millions of rands - bought with public money and meant to benefit emerging Eastern Cape farmers - were instead handed out to former president Jacob Zuma, ANC politicians and Eastern Cape royalty.

The cattle were reportedly purchased in 2008 as part of an upliftment plan by the OR Tambo municipality. 

Due process

The Sunday Times report stated that the municipality splashed out about R62m on a cluster of seven farms near Kokstad in KwaZulu-Natal and a further R30m to buy 1,800 cows and farming equipment.

However, Capa said the livestock referred to would never have been released without due processes taking place.

“If they are cows that are purchased, there are processes and receipts.  In fact, livestock does not just travel without any documentation, how would have all these cows been transported to Zuma for his personal gain? 

The Sunday Times also reported that sources working closely with the project alleged that about 50 head of cattle - including Brahman and Sussex cows - were taken to Nkandla.

Capa said allegations of this sort were not new to her. 

She said similar accusations were made previously while she was still the MEC for Agriculture. At the time it was alleged that she bought farms and handed them over to her husband, Ndumiso Capa, who was CEO of Ntinga Development Agency.

She said all those allegations were investigated but never resulted in finding any wrongdoing on her part. 

Previous investigations

“There have also been forensic investigations by the district municipality and all of them have never come forward to me with results linking me or to the municipality,” she said. 

Capa’s husband is also among those alleged to have benefited from the handover of cattle. Others include traditional leaders and municipal leaders. 

Capa said she is sure she would be cleared if there was an investigation into the new allegations. 

 “There are no cattle that have ever been awarded to Zuma.” 

Capa added that Ntinga Development Agency is an entity of the district municipality and it does not release anything without procurement through the district municipality.

“Furthermore within the district municipality, there is a portfolio committee that oversees what Ntinga does,” she said. 

Capa said she does not understand how her husband would be linked to all the allegations.

Only heifers distributed

“Ntinga has never had cattle that are roaming about. Cattle they would distribute would be heifers. What would Zuma have done with so many heifers?” she said. 

Eastern Cape Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs spokesperson Mamkeli Ngam said the government would only be able to respond to the allegations on Monday. 

Zuma's spokesperson, Vukile Mathabela, who was attending a funeral in KwaZulu-Natal this weekend, said he would respond to News24 about the allegations at a later stage.