Youth festival at taxpayers’ expense – report

2011-08-05 14:11

Almost the full R100-million cost of the World Festival of Youth and Students came from the pockets of taxpayers, with just R2.3 million raised through delegate fees, according to a report tabled in Parliament this week.

The biggest single contribution was R40 million, controversially committed by the Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, followed by R29 million provided by Treasury as part of the Presidency’s medium-term budget framework.

The rest of the costs were covered by R1-million donations from the premiers offices in Eastern Cape, Free State, Limpopo and Northern Cape, and R1.5 million from the premier’s office in Mpumalanga.

Two national government departments and a host of municipalities also contributed funds to the nine-day event in December last year that made headlines for poor planning and pictures of delegates kissing and napping.

The department of arts and culture provided R3 million and the department of communications R1.89 million.

Western Cape’s Bitou and Hessequa municipalities, both embroiled in allegations of financial impropriety, each contributed R13 600.

The Public Protector recently found that Hessequa mayor Chris Taute had acted improperly in soliciting donations for the ANC in a letter bearing the municipality’s letterhead.

The report, which was tabled in Parliament by Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, noted that the National Youth Development Agency was still trying to collect R17.8 million in outstanding commitments from provincial and national departments.

The expenditure section of the report showed that sound systems, telecommunications, seating and security costs came to R14 million and translation services to R3.4 million.

Bags, caps, T-shirts and stationary for the 15 000 delegates and banners, billboards and branding for the festival cost R8.3 million.

The single biggest expense was R24.5 million for travel and accommodation costs for the delegates.

The report said the festival succeeded in raising awareness of social and political injustice among young people from across the globe.

“At the end of the festival the youth of the world were united in their condemnation of all forms of inequality, oppression and social and political inequalities. Equally the youth committed to continue their struggles against these social ills.”

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