R300m wasted under cover of Mandela funeral - Public Protector

Mkhwebane says procurement processes of service providers for funeral not in accordance with fair and transparent system

R300m meant for the indigent wasted under cover of Mandela funeral - Public Protector

5 December 2017

Johannesburg - Eastern Cape provincial government officials wasted funds allocated for the provision of running water, electricity, sanitation, ablution facilities and the replacement of mud-schools, as well as the refurbishment of hospitals, under the cover of late president Nelson Mandela's funeral in 2013.

This was the opinion of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who delivered her report on the misappropriation of funds amounting to at least R300m from the Eastern Cape government, on Monday.

The monies were channelled to the Eastern Cape Development Corporation, which is the implementing agent of provincial treasury.

In her investigation, Mkhwebane found damning evidence to suggest that procurement processes followed in the appointment of service providers for the funeral were not in accordance with a system that was fair, equitable, transparent, cost-effective and competitive.

Provincial treasury head Marion Mbina-Mthembu, has been pinpointed as the source of the impropriety. In the report, Mbina-Mthembu was said to have unlawfully misdirected funds allocated to provincial exco.

"The conduct of Mbina-Mthembu in approving and authorising procurement of goods and services relating to the funeral was in violation of the provisions of section 217 of the Constitution... Her conduct was improper and constituted maladministration."

Mkhwebane also found that the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency incurred irregular expenditure of R500 000 and fruitless and wasteful expenditure of R970 000.

Buffalo City Municipality improperly procured the services of, and paid, service provider Victory Tickets 750 CC almost R6m in public funds to transport mourners to four venues for the memorial service observation.

The King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality incurred unauthorised expenditure in excess of R4.2m and fruitless and wasteful expenditure of R1.4m, she added.

"There is an indication that payment of goods and services to certain suppliers was based on procurement documentation, the context of which was incorrect or that did not refer to the items that were ordered."

Nelson Mandela Bay Metro incurred unauthorised expenditure of R110 300 in catering with OR Tambo District Municipality, incurring R443 500.

Mkhwebane has recommended that Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba ask President Jacob Zuma to issue a proclamation to have a special investigations unit and a special tribunal to investigate unlawful appropriation and expenditure of public money, she said.