Who funds Masibambisane mealies?

2013-07-28 14:00

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State money being given, despite denials.

Two more government entities have been identified as funders of President Jacob Zuma’s Masibambisane NGO.

Both the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Public Works-owned Independent Development Trust (IDT) have funded at least one Masibambisane project each.

The NGO is chaired by Zuma and run by his cousin Deebo Mzobe.

Mzobe has steadfastly denied the private NGO has received government funding.

But this has been refuted by confirmation that various government entities, including the Eastern Cape government, Public Works, the IDC and the IDT, have boosted Masibambisane.

Yesterday, Zuma took the Masibambisane road show to a maize and fish project in Phethwane, a small village near Marble Hall in Limpopo.

He was flanked by Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi and addressed villagers, some of whom were dressed in ANC colours.

Nxesi said at the event that Public Works was fully behind Masibambisane through its IDT programme.

He criticised the City Press coverage, adding the paper omitted the department’s replies.

“This City Press wants to discredit Masibambisane as a self-enrichment shame by certain individuals,” he said.

“No more questions. Public Works will play a role.”

The food-security-branded Masibambisane presidential visits have picked up speed following a meeting on food security organised by Masibambisane and the department of rural development at Zuma’s Pretoria residence last month.

Last week, Zuma visited Masibambisane projects in the Eastern Cape and next week he’ll take the show to North West.

Philip Magane, chairperson of the Limpopo project, told City Press yesterday the project was doing quite well and had received seeds, fertiliser and tractors from the IDT, the department of agriculture and Masibambisane itself.

He said Masibambisane had donated mechanical equipment, but it was unclear where the NGO had sourced it.

City Press reported two weeks ago that Masibambisane was primed to run the government’s new food-security initiative, which is set to receive almost R900?million from different government departments.

The IDT – a government trust chaired by Professor Somadoda Fikeni, whose CEO is Thembi Nwedamutswu – has emerged as one of Masibambisane’s biggest supporters.

In August last year, the IDT’s Durban office put out a tender for “capacity building and institutional development of Masibambisane Rural Development Initiative”.

It is not known who won the tender or for what amount.

The IDT is controlled and funded by the department of public works and offers programme management and advisory services to government departments and other development partners dealing with poverty eradication.

The IDT had also been involved in other development projects at Nkandla, Zuma’s home town, where it hosted a development week in March 2010.

IDT spokesperson Phasha Makgolane confirmed a partnership with Masibambisane, but said he would respond in detail this week.

Masibambisane has further benefited from a R1.2?million grant provided by the IDC to a dairy project in the Vuma area of the uMlalazi municipality, near Nkandla.

IDC spokesperson Mandla Mpangase said this development plan has been completed and submitted to the IDC as part of the grant-funding agreement.

He said the only grant funding was the R1.2?million for the establishment of a dairy project under the Masibambisane umbrella.

“The IDC does not have a relationship with Masibambisane,” Mpangase said. “The only relationship we have is with the Vuma dairy project.”

The dairy is not yet running.

City Press was reliably told the Land Bank was also lobbied to fund Masibambisane projects, but turned them down.

Land Bank CEO Phakamani Hadebe confirmed no funding had been given to Zuma’s NGO.

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