Mandela memorial splurge probe canned

2014-05-18 15:00

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Event organiser Carol Bouwer charged Mpumalanga’s government R3.6?million for T-shirts bearing the image of late former president Nelson Mandela’s face and R2.1 million for 500?000 bottles of water.

This is revealed in invoices and a letter that City Press saw earlier this week, revealing that the Mpumalanga government spent a whopping R70?million on memorial events honouring Mandela after his death. R39.8?million of this was paid to Carol Bouwer Productions, the company that was given the contract without proper procurement procedures being followed.

The province had to shift R70?million from six of its departments’ service delivery budgets to cover employees’ salaries after spending the money.

But despite those revelations and the new information that has emerged, Mpumalanga’s legislature has announced it is

canning its promised investigation into the spending.

For the province’s main event, held in Mbombela on December 10,

Bouwer charged:

»R2.9?million for “infrastructure”;

»R102?650 for additional cabling and lighting;

»R1.4?million for audio;

»R501?000 for videography;

»R65?550 for technical support;

»R176?500 for security;

»A R2.3?million management fee; and

»?A R782?000 contingency fee.

An invoice for the Mbombela event and the December 11 event in Middelburg reveals that for the two memorial services, Carol Bouwer Productions claimed for 100?000 T-shirts worth R3.6?million – R36 each – and 500?000 bottles of water at R4.20 each.

The invoice is dated December 11.

But according to a statement from Premier David Mabuza’s office, 80?000 people attended the Mbombela event at a local stadium and 10?000 were at the event in Middleburg’s municipal hall.

This means 10?000 extra shirts and 410?000 extra bottles of water were ordered for the two events.

The two events cost R21.4?million, which was paid in full on December 12, according to a bank statement and a letter signed by Mpumalanga’s director-general, Dr Nonhlanhla Mkhize, asking Standard Bank to transfer the money electronically.

Bouwer charged R18.3?million for three smaller events in Ermelo, Bushbuckridge and Driekoppies, near Malelane. Bouwer did not respond to numerous attempts to obtain comment, both when the initial story broke and this week.

City Press has established from a bank statement that the Mpumalanga government paid a further R3.9?million for more

T-shirts, which were procured through another company called Afro-Shine Holdings. Afro-Shine Holdings’ managing director, Norman Madzhiga, has confirmed this to City Press.

Mabuza’s spokesperson Zibonele Mncwango said government could no longer comment about the Mandela events because the matter had been referred to the legislature to investigate.

But the legislature’s spokesperson,Zamagambu Memela-Gamede, said the legislature approved a budget adjustment to cover for the shortfall and Mabuza signed it on April 10.

“In light of [the budget approval], the matter was processed, deliberated and closed by the fourth Mpumalanga provincial legislature,” Memela-Gamede said.

This means the fifth provincial legislature, due to be sworn in on Wednesday, will not investigate.

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