Mayor Patricia de Lille says that she personally paid for her trip to the Free State this week to attend an Economic Freedom Fighters-organised memorial for Winnie Madikizlea-Mandela.
"I just want to assure everyone that I've not used anything from the City of Cape Town [for the trip]. I paid for myself. The city will only pay for me when I go on official business... I went there in my personal capacity."
Eyebrows were raised when she appeared at the service held in Brandfort. De Lille says that she was asked by the late African National Congress (ANC) stalwart's family to speak.
She's bemoaned the fact the issue has been raised.
"It is my culture to attend a memorial service. If people want to make it a side issue, I think it is very disrespectful to Mama Winnie Mandela to now make an issue of me attending a memorial service... I can attend a memorial service anywhere or of any person that has fallen."
The Democratic Alliance (DA) says that she should have informed the party first, as a courtesy.
In a tweet posted on Thursday, De Lille said she went to honour her friend for whom she has great respect and regards as a sister.
I will not succumb to making my attendance at an EFF event a side issue. I went to honour Mama Winnie. I have great respect for Mama Winnie, she was a close friend and I regarded her as a sister. She was a former special colleague of mine. https://t.co/qjylwAvP3W— Patricia de Lille (@PatriciaDeLille) April 12, 2018
I visited Mama Winnie’s old home in Brandfort. This place holds so many sad memories. It’s a great pity that it wasn’t turned into a museum while she was alive so that she could give a first hand account of what happened here at the hands of the apartheid government. pic.twitter.com/gedambHNmc— Patricia de Lille (@PatriciaDeLille) April 11, 2018
A former MP herself, De Lille says Madikizela-Mandela was a special colleague of hers.