Madonsela asked to investigate how minstrels spent R40m

2015-02-16 16:40

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A formal complaint about lottery funding spent by the Cape Minstrel Carnival Association was handed to the Public Protector’s office today.

“The city wants the Public Protector to investigate how exactly the association spent the nearly R41 million paid out by the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund between 2012 and 2014,” the mayoral committee member for safety and security in the City of Cape Town, JP Smith, said.

The city and Western Cape government had already invested millions in the event, he said.

The Public Protector’s office confirmed receipt of the complaint this morning.

“It will undergo our standard assessment process to establish if it falls within our remit and whether there is any merit to the claims,” spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said.

“This process usually takes up to five working days. Only then will the Public Protector be in a position to decide whether or not the matter will be accepted for investigation,” he said.

According to the National Lotteries Board of South Africa, R13.32 million was paid in 2012 and 2013 for carnival costs, while R27.32 million was paid in 2014. About R14.3 million of this was for carnival costs and R13 million for the Carnival Heritage Museum, said Smith.

The city was given false impressions about the funding of the minstrels and was unaware of additional funding from the Lotto, he said.

“We have a situation where the city signed an agreement with the minstrels at the end of last year ... and gave them certain funding ... which covers pretty much all of their expenses.”

The provincial government and the city gave the minstrels R6 million.

The city referred the matter to the protector after audited financial statements from the association showing how the public funds were spent were not forthcoming.

“It is difficult to understand what the money could be have been spent on, especially as there was no visible expenditure on the carnival and the various minstrel troupes and boards have indicated that they have not received any benefit.”

Smith said the handling of the minstrel event was riddled by mismanagement, nonpayment of service providers, and a lack of transparency.

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