Parties lodge complaints with Public Protector over R70m spent on Mandela events

2014-03-18 15:34

Two opposition parties in Mpumalanga are set to lodge complaints with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela over the decision to spend R70 million in service-delivery money on former president Nelson Mandela’s memorial services.

Read: R70m cash crunch over Mandela memorial spend

The DA said it would submit its complaint to Madonsela’s Nelspruit office this afternoon, and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) will do so tomorrow.

Provincial director-general Dr Nonhlanhla Mkhize handled the organisation of the Mandela’s services.

Mkhize’s expenditure on the event was so excessive that Treasury MEC Madala Masuku had to table the Mpumalanga Special Adjustment Appropriation Bill to transfer service-delivery funds from six departments to Mabuza’s office to plug the gap left by the expenditure.

A startling fact about the event is that R39.8 million was paid to Carol Bouwer Productions – which was hired without tender procedures to manage the memorial events – within seven days.

DA provincial leader Anthony Benadie said a letter to Madonsela had been drafted and was being “beefed up” with details.

Benadie said Premier David Mabuza used the event to promote his own floundering public profile.

“The people of Mpumalanga deserved to attend events celebrating the legacy of Madiba, but the DA does not believe that the father of our nation would have approved of the poor being forced to suffer at the expense of celebrating his life,” he said.

“By openly flouting public finance and procurement legislation in arranging the memorial services, the DA believes that Premier Mabuza used these events as an excuse to promote his own public profile,” added Benadie.

The EFF’s premier candidate and provincial spokesperson Collen Sedibe told City Press that the party’s lawyer was busy drafting a letter that would be submitted tomorrow.

“They’re stealing, using Mandela’s name ... they’ve no morals and they’re corrupt to the core. We believe that some of the loot was diverted to fund the ANC’s election manifesto launch that took place in the province,” Sedibe said.

Mabuza’s office has still not answered City Press’ questions, which were emailed to provincial spokesperson Nonkululeko Mbatha on March 3.

One official called City Press yesterday only to verify when questions were sent, which may indicate that there is an internal probe into how communication around the matter was handled.

Carol Bouwer Productions’ owner, Carol Bouwer, also did not respond to questions on the matter.

The main memorial event was held at Mbombela Stadium on December 10. SA Idols finalists Brenden Ledwaba and Musa Sukwene were hired to perform.

Smaller events included a service in Middelburg, which was held in the town hall, and others in marquees in Ermelo, Bushbuckridge, Malelane and Mkhuhlu.

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