Premier’s gifts report

2015-11-15 15:35


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Pietermaritzburg - KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu received R43 000 in gifts and donations, including Blue Label whiskey and a goat, according to his office’s annual report.

The report, which is expected to be presented before the KZN Legislature, also reveals that his office had to pay one month of King Goodwill Zwelithini’s medical aid.

Meanwhile, the premier’s office is facing four civil claims amounting to more than R8 million, two of which are for services rendered, a third by a “plaintiff [who] slipped into an open manhole” at the Provincial Public Service Training Academy in Durban, and a fourth for fire damage to a farm in which the Royal Household is a respondent.

The report is expected to be presented before the Select Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) with two previous sittings having been postponed.

Areas likely to come under debate will include the combined irregular expenditure by both the Royal Household and the premier’s office totalling R39,7 million, of which R2,8 million has been deemed “not recoverable” and a further R8,7 million was “under investigation”.

However, the office has received an unqualified audit opinion from the KZN Auditor-General (AG).

The AG did find that the premier’s office “did not exercise effective oversight of financial reporting and compliance”, and that the department had accepted services while not completely adhering to procurement policy.

Comparing Mchunu to his peers, his gift list is remarkably better than that of Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and Gauteng Premier David Makhura, who listed no gifts at all in their respective 2015 annual reports.

Mchunu’s list, under the heading “Statement of gifts, donations and sponsorships received”, has reduced significantly from the previous financial year when it topped R209 000.

In the 2013/2014 period, gifts varied from magazine subscriptions, T-shirts, trophies, seminar bags and even R45 000 worth of freebies from SMG BMW that included two hired cars.

However, the year under review included a Huawei Ascend P7 valued at R4 000, a picture frame of Maryland State House in the U.S. from its governor Martin O’ Mailey, an R8 000 cow from the Dube Traditional Council and even a bottle of Coca-Cola given to him by Amalgamated Beverage Industries corporate affairs head ­Nosihle Mthethwa. The “Blue Label Whiskey 200 ml”, believed to be Johnny Walker, came from the Malaysian government.

According to the report, an “inter-entity advance” of R8 000 was made to “Bonitas [Medical Fund] for the Royal Household — His Majesty the King’s medical aid” while other significant notes in the report showed that 14 people, earning a combined R15,2 million, were family members of “key management personnel”. His office is likely to go before Scopa this coming week.

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