DA to grill MECs on tickets

2010-06-22 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal Legislature is to hold an informal inquiry into the purchase of World Cup tickets for MPLs and staff of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government.

Last week the Democratic Alliance rejected the offer of free tickets for all MPLs by the Office of KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize.

Yesterday DA KZN Legislature leader John Steenhuisen confirmed that the party has submitted detailed parliamentary questions to the province’s MECs for Finance and Co-operative Governance, Ina Cronje and Nomusa Dube, respectively, regarding the purchase of the tickets with public money.

Finance MEC spokesperson Musa Cebisa referred all inquiries to the office of the premier.

Steenhuisen said the DA wants to know from Cronje how many provincial government departments purchased tickets, how many tickets were purchased and how they were distributed.

“The party is also looking to ascertain from the Co-operative Governance MEC whether any local, metropolitan or district councils purchased tickets utilising ratepayers’ money,” Steenhuisen added.

Premier Zweli Mkhize’s spokesperson, Ndabezinhle Sibiya, confirmed that tickets were purchased by the office and that they were given free to all 80 MPLs and some provincial government staff who are dealing with International Affairs business.

The ticket purchases went ahead despite a recent warning from national Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan that buying tickets will be regarded as unauthorised spending and be in breach of the Public Funds Management Act.

“In the light of the provincial recovery plan and the professed commitment to cost cutting, it seems incongruous that tickets for soccer matches were being purchased.

“There is no reason why tickets bought with public money should be provided to MPPs, who are among the top five percent of earners in KZN,” Steenhuisen said.

The DA also intends raising the matter as an item for the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) to investigate, Steenhuisen indicated.

In a statement yesterday, Mkhize said: “The visibility of senior leaders of our society since the World Cup started has ensured that the people of KwaZulu-Natal hold hands to make this the most successful World Cup ever. Our collective efforts are a demonstration of uniformity in our drive to turn KwaZulu-Natal into the Africa’s economic hub.

“The joint organisation and planning for this world soccer showpiece are directed at getting positive outcomes on the soccer field and in the boardroom.”

Mkhize said all questions raised on the matter “will be addressed using internal processes in the legislature”.

A spokesperson for the Co-operative Governance MEC, Lennox Mthatheni Mabaso, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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