The provincial government is accused of using the late struggle icon’s name to do “dubious financial dealings”.
The Democratic Alliance in the Mpumalanga province is rushing to the office of the Auditor to ask him to investigate how R 8.3 million was used in the procurement of a bronze statue of former President Nelson Mandela.
The statue was erected outside the Riverside government complex.
Premier Refilwe Mtshweni and arts and culture MEC Thandi Shongwe unveiled the 6 meter high statue of Mandela.
“One of the rejected bids would have costed a total of R 2.7 million but the provincial department of culture sports and recreation ultimately chose a company that charged over three times that amount,” DA leader Jane Sithole said in a statement.
“Culture, sports and recreation MEC, Thandi Shongwe, is no stranger to controversy related to hyper-inflated tenders as she has been linked to multiple inflated tenders during her time as speaker of the provincial legislature,” said Sithole.
She said the reason they have now asked the Auditor-General to investigate the tender matter which caused an outcry in the province was the “ANC’s tendency to use Nelson Mandela’s name and memory as a disguise for dubious financial dealings such as the R 70 million given to Carol Bouwer’s Company for Nelson Mandela’s memorial services along with R 5 million for a Nelson Mandela video commissioned by the Office of the Premier that has never seen the light of day”.
“The people of Mpumalanga continue to be burdened with rising unemployment, inadequate healthcare facilities and poor service delivery that have ensured that thousands of people remain in the clutches of poverty. All of this, while the provincial government chooses to protect corruption and divert public money to projects that will not benefit the people of this province,” she said, adding that they were writing to the AG to ensure public money was not abused.
EFF leader Collen Sedibe said he estimated the statue cost close to R 20 million and wondered how much Shongwe “pocketed”.
“If the statue itself is R 8.3 million and with the ceremony where they hired tents, catering and bought ANC T-shirts, we are talking of R 20 million,” Sedibe said.
“We can’t have Mandela statues everywhere when our people are deep in poverty,” he said.
Mtshweni said the unveiling of the statue was important as it will show the future generation the role Madiba played in liberating South Africa.
“This is a way to thank and show how Mandela played a part in our liberation as a country,” she said.
Meanwhile, Facebook users said the statue didn’t look like Mandela.
(edited by NN)
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