KZN’s World Cup ticket splurge

2010-07-29 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL Premier Zweli Mkhize announced yesterday that the province spent R8 452 384 on 550 tickets that were distributed to various stakeholders who assisted as hosts during the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Mkhize said the provincial government bought an additional 1 430 stand tickets that were made available for purchase by various stakeholders when it became apparent that some tickets would no longer be needed in its hosting plan.

“These costs will be recovered from those who took advantage of the offer,” he said.

After receiving an advisory note from the National Treasury about the purchase of World Cup tickets, Mkhize said, they ensured that no provincial government departments were found to be in breach in terms of section 81 of the Finance Act.

He said the advisory note declared that any diversion of funds towards the purchase of World Cup tickets would be considered to be unauthorised and irregular expenditure.

It warned that heads of department who initiated such expenditure would be violating the Public Finance Management Act and would be liable for recovery of the funds.

Mkhize inssited that no diversions of funds had occurred.

The provincial government was criticised for purchasing tickets on behalf of the members of the legislature.

“Our government discussed and endorsed the letter.

“We then instructed all our provincial departments and municipalities not to purchase any tickets because we had developed a hosting plan,” said Mkhize.

The KwaZulu-Natal government used the World Cup as a platform to market the province internationally as an investment and tourism destination.

Mkhize said all KZN’s districts had hosted public viewing areas, which recorded a total attendance of 4 35 734. He said 824 small businesses and 792 service providers had benefited, while 1 414 provincial artists had performed.

He praised the tremendous support by religious, political, business and traditional leaders, entertainers and the media.

He said they mobilised under the theme “KZN — taking SA forward” to signify that as a province they were ready to contribute their share to make South Africa the great place that the whole world acknowledges it to be following the successful hosting of the World Cup.

“The support for the KZN marketing plan was appreciated by the majority of the 56 ambassadors and high commissioners who attend the event.”

Mkhize said he was pleased with the outcome.

“Our sense was that our guest left with a positive feeling about our province.”

He quoted a journalist who had told him: “We actually turned the 2010 World Cup into an international investment conference.”

The provincial government is finalising programmes to follow up on the World Cup contacts and initiatives.

Mkhize cited initial reports that show the spin-offs for the province have been about R3,9 billion.

Economic Development and Tourism MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu said an analysis of the World Cup gains made by sectors such as hotels and tourism will be conducted in the coming weeks

MEC for Finance Ina Cronje said there are some positive aspects as a result of the World Cup that cannot be quantified, such as nation building and the unity achieved during the month-long football tournament.

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