Cablegate: Ousted Eastern Cape Mayor Discusses Politics

DE RUEHTN #0258 3660938
P 310938Z DEC 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary. On December 23, Cape Town CG, Poloff, Econoff,
PAO, and FCS met with Ntombentle Cordelia Peter, the former Mayor of
Buffalo City (East London) in the Eastern Cape when she came to the
Consulate to pick her visa for her forthcoming IV program. Peter
discussed a range of issues, including service delivery in the
townships, reducing HIV/AIDS rates, and improving education.
(Note: Buffalo City is one of the biggest non-metropolitan
municipalitiesin the country, in the heart of the ANC's traditional
base of support in the Eastern Cape. In recent weeks this
municipality has been rocked by defections from the ANC to COPE.
End Note.) Peter also discussed her problems with the ANC and the
possibility of joining the newest political party in South Africa,
COPE. End summary.

2. (SBU) Peter told Consulate officers she wants to mobilize
development in the Eastern Cape and identify areas that need
development assistance. She recently finished her master?s degree,
which focused on Mdantsane, the second biggest township in South
Africa, located in Buffalo City. She studied ways of improving the
township by bringing in business, revamping services, reducing
HIV/AIDS, and improving education. Peter also discussed her ousting
by the ANC and said, ?it is very sad to see what is happening to the
party.? She can not understand why the head of the ANC Youth League
(ANCYL), Julius Malema, ?is behaving the way he is by inciting
violence? and she can not align herself with a President who
believes ?he can take a shower after sleeping with someone to
prevent HIV/AIDS.?

3. (SBU) A lifelong member of the ANC, Peter worked her way up the
ranks of the political party beginning in the ANCYL and becoming
Mayor of Buffalo City in 2006. Although Peter is a strong believer
in the traditional values of the ANC, she believes the current ANC
leadership is ?disregarding the Constitution.? Peter explained that
she had no aspirations to be mayor, but the ANC ?forced? her to
accept the job. Her problems with the ANC started in the beginning
of 2008 after the ANC Convention in Polikwani when ANC members
started to question Mbeki?s ?devotion and assistance? to her. Peter
told Consulate officers she is close to Mbeki and said, ?Mbeki has a
soft spot for me.? When asked if Mbeki would join COPE, Peter said
she did not think he would leave the ANC.
4. (SBU) After Polikwane her problems continued with the ANC. In
2008, the Buffalo City manager (an ANC stalwart) was under
investigation and awaiting trial. The night before the trial,
members of the ANCYL came to Peter?s house at 10 PM and told Peter
?to stop the court case against the city manager or else she had no
place in the ANC.? After Peter failed to intervene in the court
case, the ANC accused her of working with COPE and of using
municipal resources to help fund COPE. Additionally, Peter alleged
the ANC tapped her phone to see if she was working with COPE, but
did not indicate to Consulate officers whether she had any evidence
of this.

5. (SBU) In response to Poloff?s question regarding her membership
in the ANC, Peter said she is still a member of the ANC since she
has such a long history with the party, although she is becoming
quickly disillusioned and will resign soon. She is not sure if she
will join COPE, but COPE organizers recently called her to ask why
she did not attend the December 16 recent meeting.

6. (SBU) Note. Peter will travel to the U.S. in January as part of
the IV program. Because Peter came to the Consulate to collect her
Qthe IV program. Because Peter came to the Consulate to collect her
visa, CG and Poloff took the opportunity to question Peter about her
recent ousting from her position as Buffalo City Mayor. She began
her conversation with Consulate officers by saying it was okay that
she was fired by the ANC as the Mayor of Buffalo City because she
was ousted for standing firm to her principles. Although Peter was
happy to discuss the events which led to her dismissal, she did so
only in direct response to Poloff?s questions. End note.

© Scoop Media

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