Free World Cup tickets issued to KZN amakhosi

2010-06-30 00:00

THE KZN Office of the Premier has confirmed that free World Cup games tickets were also issued to some amakhosi in the province “as part of the provincial government’s strategy to showcase the province to tourists”.

Premier Zweli Mkhize’s spokesperson, Ndabezinhle Sibiya, confirmed this while responding to an inquiry after The Witness was reliably informed that not only MPLs and government staff have benefited from the free tickets.

“Traditional leaders play an important role in our society and government has ensured that they are part of all efforts aimed at speeding up socio-economic development,” said Sibiya.

“The government believes that, as leaders of our society, they should be given the opportunity to participate in reconstruction and redevelopment programmes. With regard to the World Cup, they have responded positively to the government’s request and are visible in public viewing areas. Some have represented KZN in pre-match activities.”

Premier Mkhize commented: “They have met representatives from other countries. We are very pleased with the level of commitment shown by amakhosi, and indeed they have mobilised communities to be welcoming and show warmth to the visitors. This is what this province will be known for in many more years to come.”

Meanwhile, the KwaZulu-Natal Treasury has confirmed that no provincial government department in KwaZulu-Natal was ever authorised to purchase World Cup tickets using taxpayers’money.

Finance MEC Ina Cronjé said that only the Office of the Premier was mandated by the provincial cabinet to handle all World Cup-related matters — including the purchase of tickets — “and all expenses incurred were budgeted for”.

Cronjé’s explanation comes in the wake of an outcry over the continued purchase of World Cup games tickets by government departments and public entities, despite a warning issued by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan that doing so will amount to unauthorised expenditure and the transgression of the Public Finance Management Act.

Cronjé would not be drawn on whether any municipalities in the province have bought tickets.

She said that for the past four years the Office of the Premier has been running World Cup activities, and the purchase of tickets has bween part of a programme discussed by the provincial steering committee on the World Cup and was budgeted for.

Sibiya confirmed that tickets were bought as part of the provincial government’s plan to showcase the province to potential business investors and tourists. He said free tickets have been given to individuals from different sectors of KZN’s leadership.

Democratic Alliance leader in the KZN legislature John Steenhuisen recently announced that DA caucus members in the legislature have been ordered not to accept tickets issued by the Office of the Premier.



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