'Hands off Nkonyeni'
THE South African Communist Party in KwaZulu-Natal has questioned the timing of fraud allegations against the speaker of the legislature, Peggy Nkonyeni.
The SACP says it suspects the incident could be politically driven from within the ranks of the ANC.
Yesterday members of the SACP's provincial executive council, led by its provincial deputy chairman Nomarashiya Caluza, treasurer Mbusiseni Mathonsi and provincial executive member Khaye Nkwanyane, expressed their concern during an urgent media briefing.
Mathonsi said the attack on Nkonyeni was influenced by political bickering and factionalism.
The SACP believes that the allegations are politically motivated and designed to tarnish Nkonyeni's image.
Speculation is rife that KwaZulu-Natal is set to reshuffle its cabinet and that some MECs could lose their positions.
The DA leader in the province, Sizwe Mchunu, has alleged that Nkonyeni was listed as a director in 13 companies, three of which were known to have conducted business with the KwaZulu-Natal government.
"Most damning is a payment of R222300 in 2008 to one of Nkonyeni's companies for the supply of medical wheelchairs at a time when she was provincial health MEC," Mchunu said.
At the media briefing, Nkwanyane warned political parties that politicising the fight against corruption would discredit and weaken a noble cause.
"We are aware that the allegation emanated from the provincial treasury, but the DA has been a driving force.
"The speaker made it come out clearly that she had no association with these companies," Nkwanyane said.
"It's not the first time that Nkonyeni is being targeted. She has become the most politically abused female leader in this province. We are worried about this obsession and the permanent mobilisation against her.
This may as well be a clear indication of a strong paternalistic and anti-women society that characterises KwaZulu-Natal," Mathonsi said.
He said that in 2008, ahead of ANC elective conference, Nkonyeni was also targeted.
"Nkonyeni was charged with fraud and corruption in connection with the mammogram scanning machine, but those charges were withdrawn because of lack of evidence," Mathonsi said.
Nkonyeni has also invited Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to investigate the allegations by the DA.