Minstrels land huge Lotto donation

2014-11-23 17:00

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Cape Town’s minstrels are among the biggest Lotto winners, bagging a massive R25?million in funding in one year alone.

The Cape Town Minstrels Carnival Association got just under a quarter of the R109.3?million of Lotto funding that was divided among about 90 organisations involved in the arts in the Western Cape.

Most organisations got less than R1?million.

Earlier this year, the minstrels’ association openly campaigned for the ANC ahead of the general elections. It has also appointed ANC provincial chairperson Marius Fransman as its new patron in place of the late Nelson Mandela.

The 2013/14 annual report of the National Lotteries Board lists three payments to the minstrels’ association – R2.6?million, R6.3?million and R16.4?million, totalling R25.3?million.

In the 2012/13 financial year, the minstrels ­received R10.7?million.

Neither the minstrels nor the National Lotteries Board have been forthcoming about providing an explanation for how the money has been spent.

The association’s chief financial officer, Kevin Momberg, said last month he would have to get permission from the board to make its financial statements available.

But after a meeting earlier this month, he said the statements were with the lottery board.

However, the National Lotteries Board said it needed permission from the minstrels to release the statements. The minstrels this week failed to reply to a request to release the statements.

Momberg said this week that the association had about 100?000 members.

Asked what the biggest expenses were, he said “there are a lot of big expensive items, transport, security at our events, etc”.

He said a question on whether any luxury cars had been bought by the association was “a sarcastic question” because “the lottery board had strict guidelines with regards to their allocation”.

Momberg said the R3.65?million pledged by the City of Cape Town for the minstrels’ New Year celebrations this year was not enough because these “involve all the other minstrel boards and also the Malay choirs and Christmas bands”.

He said it was the association’s right to support political parties.

“People died so we could vote for what we want,” he said in an email response, adding in capital ­letters: “This is an uncalled-for question.”

Another large minstrel organisation, the Kaapse Klopse Karnival Association received R2.6?million in the last financial year and R1.7?million in 2012/13.

The Cape Argus reported this week that this organisation was being probed by authorities for the alleged misspending of funding.

Leaders from both organisations were this week included in a committee that received R3.65?million from the City of Cape Town to allow the minstrels to run the traditional New Year’s celebrations.

In previous years, the funding and organisation of the event have been a political hot potato.

In 2011, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille appointed retired Constitutional Court Judge Kate O’Regan to mediate between the City and representatives of the Cape minstrel associations, Christmas bands and Cape Malay choirs.

It was agreed last year that the minstrels would run the event themselves this year with support from the City.

De Lille this week said the agreement “is in line with our efforts to build an inclusive city and create an enabling environment to attract investment that supports economic growth and job creation”.

Fransman this week welcomed the City’s pledge of money, but said the amount could be greater.

The National Lotteries Board had failed to ­respond to questions by the time of going to press.

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