Mandela funeral scandal: Premier Masualle has something to hide, says DA

2014-07-17 12:37

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The DA leader in the Eastern Cape, Athol Trollip, has vowed to take the matter of Premier Phumulo Masualle’s alleged involvement in a scandal connected with Nelson Mandela’s funeral to the Public Protector and the Auditor-General.

The DA leader addressed the media in East London yesterday about allegations that some R250 000 meant for the funeral arrangements for the late president was deposited in the premier’s personal bank account in December.

He said that he had been disturbed to find that his written questions to the premier in the provincial legislature about the allegations had been “altered”.

Trollip said that the questions he had submitted to the legislature were changed “in order to protect the premier”.

“What has happened is extremely dangerous. If the legislature is allowed to manipulate questions, it means our democracy is under threat, because as opposition parties we use questions to hold the executive to account.

“This proves one thing, that the premier has something to hide. If he has nothing to hide why use [the] legislature to evade questions?” said Trollip.

He vowed not to let the matter go.

“We will take the matter to the Public Protector to investigate and write to the Auditor-General to probe the transactions,” Trollip said.

When he resubmitted his questions they were rejected, he said.

Madiba’s memorial and funeral arrangements could also have been better handled as his passing was not unexpected or sudden, added Trollip.

“His [Madiba] passing away was something everyone anticipated. Preparations and planning were done years in advance. But when the Eastern Cape got involved in the memorial service and funeral arrangements, it become evident there was very little planning.

“Procurement, expenditure and transfer of money was done in the most ad hoc fashion, which contravened all financial legislation ... I think it’s absolutely scandalous that in a province of Nelson Mandela’s birth, people who represent the ANC and are in government chose the time of his death to help themselves to eat,” Trollip said.

He said millions of rands had been spent and unaccounted for, citing as an example R9 million spent during a provincial memorial service for the struggle stalwart in Nelson Mandela Bay that had reportedly left no paper trail.

“This whole situation has been systematically exploited,” said Trollip.

“The Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela metros are implicated. The OR Tambo district and King Sabata Dalindyebo municipalities have also been implicated. I can guarantee you that most of the other municipalities in this province have also helped themselves in monies, in the name of former president Nelson Mandela.”

Premier Masualle was one of individuals who needed to account, he insisted.

“The premier was head of finance then. He was the MEC responsible for making the transfers for the funeral arrangements ... The premier had money transferred to his personal bank account in December. Now it is the middle of July and there has been no explanation for this highly irregular transaction.”

In a recent interview, ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane told City Press that the matter had been blown out of proportion.

Masualle, who is also chairperson of the ANC in the province, had “no idea of the transaction” referred to by Trollip.

The premier had immediately returned the money when it reflected in his bank account, he said.

“All the money can be accounted for. There is no money that the premier stole or misused. This issue has been blown out of proportion. There is no corruption here. The premier has taken us into his confidence,” said Mabuyane.

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