KZN govt in fix over R3?mln spent on Meyiwa’s funeral

2015-01-31 00:00

POLITICAL parties have come out in a united front, calling for an ­investigation into how the KwaZulu-Natal government spent R3 million on soccer star Senzo Meyiwa’s funeral.

Nearly half of that amount went to a company tied up in a legal wrangle over “unpaid bills”, and which once had President Jacob Zuma’s cousin Deebo Mzobe at the helm.

The KZN government funded a ­public funeral and memorial service in the wake of the Bafana Bafana captain’s murder in a botched house robbery in Vosloorus, outside Johannesburg, in October last year.

Thousands of fans streamed into Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium, which had been bedecked with glossy banners for a ceremony attended by a host of politicians.

Weekend Witness has established through a Promotion of Access to

Information Act application that:

• The provincial government paid R3 094 105,42 for the funeral.

• A R1,2 million catering contract was awarded to Solesa Productions, which once listed Mzobe as a director.

• A company called Soundrite received R599 405 for infrastructure.

• Courtesy Marketing was paid R190 500 for banners.

• Catering is not a service that Solesa provides, according to its website.

• Solesa Productions is embroiled in a protracted legal battle with several creditors.

A breakdown of costs, including VIP catering, banners, stadium rental, security and lanyards was made available in the application.

KZN Economic Freedom Fighters MPL Vusi Khoza said, “There is no ­justification whatsoever for spending R3 million of taxpayers’ money on the funeral of a well-off and employed ­soccer player.”

Khoza asked how these companies were chosen as service providers for the funeral.

“We are going to demand clarity from the Office of the Premier on who decided on this amount, because I sit on the portfolio committee of the Premier and the Royal Household too and we have never discussed this,” he said.

Democratic Alliance provincial leader Sizwe Mchunu questioned who ­authorised the expenditure.

“I also sit on the portfolio committee of the Premier’s Office and Royal Household and the funeral was never discussed.

“One would think that the Office of the Premier would follow due processes because Senzo Meyiwa was a national figure,” he said.

Another concern, he said, was that the same companies continued to ­benefit from state tenders.

“We will submit a parliamentary question asking how much was spent on the funeral and, depending on what we get, we will be asking for an investigation to be conducted,” said Mchunu.

He said the party had reservations about how the Premier’s Office ­managed its finances.

“It would be difficult to say if the ­expenditure was justified or not, ­because we don’t know if the prices were inflated,” he said.

Inkatha Freedom Party caucus leader Blessed Gwala did not mince his words.

He said, “What we hate is officials and politicians that descend like ­vultures to feed themselves rather than doing the job they have been assigned to do.”

The party would join the DA in ­calling for an investigation, he said.

“We want to know how every cent was spent,” he said.

National Freedom Party provincial chair Vikizitha Mlotshwa said the ­Office of the Premier needed to be ­investigated.

“This was not even budgeted for, so it will go down as wasteful expenditure,” said Mlotshwa.

The ANC referred Weekend Witness to the Office of the Premier, which did not respond to questions on the matter by the time of going to press.

• amanda.khoza@witness.co.za, jeff.wicks@witness.co.za

Solesa’s woes

ACCORDING to Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission documents, Deebo Mzobe resigned as a director of Solesa late in 2013, leaving Sithembiso Khumalo as the sole proprietor.

Solesa is involved in a legal wrangle over an unpaid bill relating to a R3,7 million beach festival in 2013, when Durban hosted heads of state from the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nations.

The eThekwini Municipality, a week ­before the festival, asked production companies to submit bids to host the ­affair. Three companies — Slingshot Productions, Vuka Africa and Let’s Be Local — pitched their offerings and the city asked them to combine their efforts.

It was reported that on the eve of the festivities, Khumalo made an appearance at a meeting at the city hall and “inveigled” his company into the job as project ­managers. At that time Mzobe was still a listed director.

In terms of the memorandum of understanding between the city and the companies, R3 million was to be spent on the event, but there was also scope for “profit share”, which meant that anything under that figure would be split four ways.

The other companies later fell out with Khumalo, accusing him of reneging on the deal.

Slingshot Productions director Andrew Loubser said he has turned to the courts to force Khumalo to pay him.

Let’s be Local head Athos Euripidou could not be reached for comment.

Repeated efforts to contact Khumalo by telephone, SMS and e-mail were unsuccessful at the time of going to press.

SOLESA’S RISE

SOLESA Productions was formed in 2007 by Mzobe and Khumalo, with the former later resigning.

According to Solesa’s website, the company has scored millions in contracts, including:

• Health and Safety Management and Co-ordination for the NUZ Business Expo, Comedy Series and Music Festival (April, 2014)

• Autumn Music Festival 2014

• KZN Autumn Carnival (May 2, 2014)

• Jozini Events (April, 2013 – March, 2014)

• Provision of equipment for Ndwedwe Municipality RDP Housing Launch (April 2, 2014);

• Durban Beach Festival (annual festival that has been held since 2009)

• Brics Beach Festival (March 24, 2013)

• Richards Bay Beach Festival (December 15, 2013 to December 16, 2013)

• Port Shepstone Beach Festival (December 16, 2012 to December 17, 2012)

• Afcon Afterparty (October, 2012)

• Share the Harvest Campaign, VIP Marquee & Décor for 14 Ministers, Nkandla (August 14, 2011)

• Recycling, Greening, Environment friendliness Theatre Performance for Premier’s Office (June 5, 2011)

• Democracy Celebration Concert (May 20, 2011)

• Premier’s Excellence Awards, Mpumalanga Province (December 9, 2010)

• KZN 2010 Cultural Carnival (June 15, 2010 and July 8, 2010)

• Traders Market Promotion, Business Support (June, 2010)

• Welcoming of Paraguay team, Pietermaritzburg Sports Ground (June 5, 2010)

• KZN Social Development MEC Service ­Excellence Awards (April 26, 2010)

• eThekwini Municipality Long Service Awards (2010)

• Earth Hour Promotion across eThekwini Region (March 27, 2010)

• Supply of sound system for eThekwini Senior Citizens Events (November/December 2009/10)

• Supply of screens, camera and sound for eThekwini Municipality Long Service Awards at the ICC (November 25, 2009)

• Supply of screens, sound and stage for

Inzalabantu Event at Ndwedwe Municipality for the KZN Treasury (September 27, 2009)

• Confederations Cup Public Viewing Areas at Ilembe District for 20 000 people (June, 2009)

• KZN Department of Human Settlement Project Launches (March 2, 2009)

• eThekwini Electricity promotions on saving electricity (24 months project, +/- 150 roadshows)

• KZN Cultural Carnivals in six districts (2008)

• Co-ordinated SABC 1 Jika Majika TV Youth Programme KZN 14 x episodes (2006 and 2008)

• Commemoration at Mtubatuba, KwaMsane Sport Ground for 20 000 people (June 16, 2008).

MEYIWA’S FAMILY SPEAKS

SENZO Meyiwa’s brother Sifiso said the R3 million spent on the funeral was justified.

“It shows the support and appreciation they had for him. It shows that he was important,” said Meyiwa, who refused to discuss the matter further, but added that the family was doing much better. The star’s father Sam refused to comment about the cost of the funeral. He said the family were still mourning. “We are trying. We are still mourning the death of our son. Please can you leave us alone,” he said, before ending the call.

MEYIWA’S FAMILY SPEAKS

SENZO Meyiwa’s brother Sifiso said the R3 million spent on the funeral was justified.

“It shows the support and appreciation they had for him. It shows that he was important,” said Meyiwa, who refused to discuss the matter further, but added that the family was doing much better. The star’s father Sam refused to comment about the cost of the funeral. He said the family were still mourning. “We are trying. We are still mourning the death of our son. Please can you leave us alone,” he said, before ending the call.

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