Arthur, king of the kiss-off

2011-10-08 15:51

Arthur Mafokate, the “king of kwaito”, scored big from the “international kissing festival” in Tshwane last year.

Mafokate, a prominent ANC member and supporter of President Jacob Zuma, was paid R5.3 million for providing entertainment at the World Festival of Students and Youth, which was ­organised by the ­National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).

This included a R100 000 bill for balloons and R60 000 for confetti.

Friends and associates of the ­ruling party and its youth league raked in R106 million from the ­festival, which was paid for with taxpayers’ money and sponsored by the ­National Lottery.

Other beneficiaries include ­Julius Mekwa, the manager of kwaito band Mafikozolo and a prominent supporter of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema; and Ali Boshielo, a known Malema business associate and confidant of Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale.

Another beneficiary is a company which lists Thabo Kwinana, the former lawyer to disgraced ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni, as its non-executive chairperson.

Kwinana is also a former company secretary of the youth league’s now-defunct investment arm Lembede Investments.

Documents show that Mafokate’s company 999 Music was paid 50% of the R5.3 million ­upfront, which included frills like R100 000 for cheerleaders, R200 000 for dancers, R136 000 for unnamed poets and R67 500 for golf carts.

Artists for the opening and closing ceremonies of the festival were paid R760 000.

Asked to comment, Mafokate asked to see the documents, which were sent to him but he then failed to respond or return calls.

Mekwa, whose company recently provided catering services worth R50 000 to Malema’s ­supporters at his riotous Luthuli House disciplinary hearing, got a contract worth almost R9 million for managing the opening and closing ceremonies.

In April last year, the NYDA also paid almost R44 000 for Mekwa to fly to Venezuela during the hand­over of the festival flag to South

Mekwa said he won the contract fairly through proper tender processes and that he charged “cheap” and “market-related” prices.

He said his airplane ticket to Venezuela was paid because he was travelling with Mafikizolo’s lead singer Nhlanhla Nciza, who was booked to perform there.

“It is not correct to say that I am close to the youth league because we did a pitch for the whole thing and we saw it as a business opportunity,” said Mekwa.

He admitted to providing food to Malema’s supporters recently, ­saying his business was entitled to donate to any organisation that it chose.

Another company owned by Boshielo called Bitline SA 694 scored more than R1 million for providing bags, T-shirts and other paraphernalia to the festival. The company also built a house for ­athlete Caster Semenya on behalf of Malema two years ago.

Boshielo, who was also connected to Lembede Investments, did not respond to questions sent to him this week.

He charged the NYDA about R500 000 for 20 200 T-shirts, R383 000 for bags and another R1.7 million for unspecified goods.

Sithatha Umnotho, a company in which Kwinana is listed as a ­director, received payments for ­catering and entertainment.

The company also provided a R90 000 headstone to the festival.

Kwinana said he did not know that the company had won a contract for the festival and he believed it no longer existed.

He claimed to have left the company and said Thabo Shogole was running it. Shogole said Kwinana was not part of the company, ­although he remains listed on its website.

Documents show the money was paid directly to Shogole’s account, although invoiced in the company’s name.

“I explained that because the company had not submitted its ­annual returns, it was deregistered and that was a mess-up with the bookkeeper. The company is still in existence,” said Shogole.

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