Cape Town - Alderman JP Smith, City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, has handed in an official complaint to the Public Protector, calling for the investigation of more than R50m that allegedly went missing from the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Association over the past 3 years,
The complaint, lodged on Monday, 16 February was made against the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Association (CTMCA), specifically naming the association’s chairperson Richard Stemmet and its chief executive, Kevin Momberg.
The City believes that the CTMCA received money from various sources, including the City of Cape Town under false pretences, and large amounts of funds "were misspent severely".
Smith says that donations of R57m, over the past three years, from the National Lottery have "gone under the radar and remain unaccounted for".
The City of Cape Town also gave the Cape Minstrel Carnival
Association an amount of R6m, under the impression that the Minstrel
Association were under immense financial pressure and that they had no
additional funds other than those provided by the City of Cape Town.
When questioned about the usage of the money, Kevin Momberg told Carte Blanche that the funds were used – and are going to be used – for an official Minstrels Museum among other things.
According to the investigative television report, the Cape Minstrels and their representatives, like Shahieda Dolly Thole from the Cape Minstrel District Board, know nothing of any museum.
Donations unaccounted for
Thole also told Carte Blanche that nobody has any idea what happened to the R41.3m that was donated by the National Lottery in 2014 alone.
“Only Richard Stemmet would know where the money has gone," Thole has been quoted as saying.
The complaint to the Public Protector was made in an attempt to determine where the public’s money, donated by the National Lottery and the City among others, has gone under the leadership of Stemmet and Momberg.
“The City of Cape Town is a major supporter of the Minstrel Carnival and gives it largest financial contribution to this event annually,” Smith said as he handed over of the complaint.
However, Smith says, the City and the people of Cape Town have the right to know "on what exactly the enormous amount of money donated to the Minstrel Association was spent".
The complaint would take five working days to be processed by the Public Protector, after which a decision would be made on whether it is worthy of an investigation.
Cape Minstrels upset Bo-Kaap residents
In another incident, Cape Town Minstrels performing in the city centre streets were apprehended on Saturday evening, 14 February, after some of the groups took part in a gathering which caused complaints from residents living in the Bo-Kaap.
Smith filed an urgent court application on Valentine’s Day to prevent the minstrels from parading in central Cape Town and the Bo-Kaap.
Smith told IOL News that city officials would also consider “laying criminal charges” and “threaten withholding sponsorship money at the end of the year if the minstrels do not comply with our by-laws now”.
Saturday’s parade was to mark the end of the minstrel’s annual competition at Athlone Stadium where trophies were awarded to the best singers, costumes and troupes. Smith said complaints from Bo-Kaap residents had prompted the city to take action.
Residents not partaking in the Bo-Kaap and city centre festivities were outraged by the performers, laying complaints of public urinating, loud noise and unofficial road blocks to Smith.
Trade union Cosatu has since condemned Smith for taking such drastic action against the Minstrels, saying “JP Smith is the biggest danger to safety and security in the city as people on the Cape Flats think he is a joke. The City is clearly still angry at the Minstrels for performing at the ANC rally, now they are being victimised.”