Opposition seeks probe into Mandela memorial funds amid graft claims

2014-01-25 17:57

Opposition parties have demanded a probe into how taxpayers’ money, released for former president Nelson Mandela’s memorial services, had been used, after allegations that some of the funds had been misappropriated.

The Daily Dispatch today alleged that a senior official of the ANC had embezzled part of the money released by the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality.

Citing its own research, the newspaper said R5.9?million was paid to a local transport company linked to the ANC official.

The company then transferred some of the money to other firms – some of which had nothing to do with transportation, even though the money was meant to be spent on driving mourners to the anti-apartheid icon’s memorial services.

Instead, the newspaper claimed that the money was used to print ANC T-shirts.

“We want a forensic investigation into this. It’s a scandal,” said Jerome Mdyolo, a municipal councillor for the opposition Pan Africanist Congress.

A councillor with the DA said even the address that appeared on the transport company’s invoice was apparently false.

“Now imagine you get a slip for R5.9?million and the address on the invoice is incorrect and fraudulent. It raises eyebrows,” said councillor Terence Fritz.

“So we are asking for an investigation into that,” he said.

A formal request for a probe will be tabled during a routine council meeting on Friday.

Neither the ANC nor municipal officials could be reached for comment today.

Fritz said his party was not against the release of the funds “because we couldn’t put any monetary value to [Mandela’s] legacy and what he did and what he meant to us”, but it would not tolerate the abuse of public funds.

President Jacob Zuma this month started the ANC’s election campaign with a slew of promises to crack down on rampant graft and poverty in the country.

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