NEWS

Greed And Corruption To The Tune Of R300-Million At Mandela Funeral

Corruption, maladministration and greed overshadowed the former statesman's funeral.

05/12/2017 07:28 SAST | Updated 05/12/2017 07:47 SAST
Mark Wessells / Reuters
A woman watches the funeral service for former South African President Nelson Mandela on a large screen television on Cape Town's Grand Parade, December 15, 2013.

Former president Nelson Mandela's funeral was exploited by unscrupulous officials and opportunists, resulting in corruption and R300-million wasted and misspent, as the Eastern Cape provincial government scrambled to pull it off with no proper plans in place, The Times reported.

This was outlined by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's report into the funeral, released on Monday. Mandela died exactly four years ago on Tuesday.

Eastern Cape government officials also treated the funeral as an emergency on their books, resulting in millions of unauthorised, wasteful and irregular expenditure, according to The Times.

Mkhwebane reportedly highlighted that some invoices were submitted and paid for services that were not delivered. In one case, a company, Reagola Print And Mail, had "unilaterally changed the order and only supplied T-shirts, the number of which could not be established with certainty."

She reportedly said the company submitted another invoice for R1.9-million after the funeral without disclosing that it had changed the order. She recommended that the company be referred to the National Prosecuting Authority.

She reportedly found that Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle had wrongfully made the Eastern Cape Development Corporation solely responsible for the funeral, channelling R330-million to the corporation. The payments were in violation of Treasury regulations, she reportedly found.

Officials stood by while this unlawful behaviour went on.

The 3,000 marshals deployed to the funeral were reportedly fed R1-million's worth of meals from KFC and McDonald's.

There were also 255 catering companies hired to provide breakfast for 100 people at a time while R500,000 was spent on refuse bins that are unused.

Mkhwebane recommended that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) be asked to investigate further so that the money can be recovered.

The Mail & Guardian reported that money intended for service delivery and infrastructure development in the Eastern Cape, including the eradication of mud schools and refurbishing hospitals, was diverted to buy T-shirts and catering.

Suppliers who were not on the municipal databases were paid grossly inflated prices.

"How can you charge R350 for a T-shirt?" she reportedly asked.

She also reported that some invoices were written on the letterhead of the ANC, in what she said was "the attitude of saying I've got two masters, the ANC and the municipality..."

According to the Daily Maverick, the province had known it was going to host Mandela's funeral since 2008, but had put no plans in place to do so. There was no "properly coordinated plan" in place to arrange the funeral, nor was there an operational centre where daily meetings could be held.

This lack of planning also morphed into corruption, she reportedly found, with reports that R6-million was paid to one taxi operator for the transportation of mourners in the Eastern Cape.

The report also confirmed a story broken by the Daily Dispatch, that R250,000 was deposited into Masualle's bank account. However, her report stated that Masualle was not responsible and that he had asked for the payment to be reversed.