Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane and the province’s ANC treasurer Babalo Madikizela have been fingered in a damning Public Protector’s report for allegedly siphoning R1.1 million from money set aside for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s memorial service in Mbizana in 2018.
The ANC also allegedly benefitted from the pilfering, with R280,000 being deposited into the governing party’s bank account.
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s office has released a report, which shows how these two and others improperly benefitted from the money, and was the result of a complaint by Xolile Mashukuca on July 1, 2019.
The report into “allegations of corruption, maladministration or misuse of public funds by senior and executive Eastern Cape government officials and the Mbizana Local Municipality”, found that Mabuyane scored R450,000 while Madikizela benefitted to the tune of R350,000.
The provincial Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts, and Culture and the Mbizana Local Municipality (MLM) decided to work together to host a memorial service for the late Madikizela-Mandela, and according to the terms of the agreement they signed, the department was responsible for providing R1.1 million which would ostensibly be used for transport.
Mkhwebane’s report details how businessman Lonwabo Bam assisted the pair in stuffing their own pockets instead, and has provided sworn affidavits detailing how this happened.
Among the Public Protector’s findings are:
- R1.1 million meant for the memorial service was “irregularly deposited into the account of Mthombeni Project (Pty) Ltd by the MLM and subsequently misappropriated to improperly benefit certain government officials and/or private persons”.
- The MLM allowed a government or state funded event to be taken over by private persons and politicians who were not in the employ of government, leading to violations of supply chain management processes.
- The expected transport was subsequently provided by Mbizana Local Taxi Association and/or Koo Construction and Projects, following informal negotiations by ANC leaders.
- The R1.1 million was transferred into the account of Mthombeni Project (Pty) Ltd (Mthombeni Projects), by Mr Luvuyo Mahlaka (Mr Mahlaka): Municipal Manager of MLM
- R450,000 of this went into the account of Allan Morran Design Architectural Services, to pay for renovations at Mabuyane’s private residence. Mabuyane apparently denied any knowledge of the payment, but the report says that evidence was found that his wife “Ms Siyasanga Mabuyane (Ms Mabuyane) advised the business owner of Allan Morran Design: Mr Allan Morran (Mr Morran) through an email that the deposit of R450,000 was to be used for renovations of their private house.”
- Mr Madikizela personally pocketed R350,000, which was deposited into the account of his wife’s business, IPM Plant Hire CC.
- R280,000 was deposited into the ANC’s fundraising account.
The report found the municipality attempted to cover up the theft by fabricating letters to create the appearance of an agreement of cession among the involved parties.
The transactions raised suspicions and have been referred to the Hawks for investigation in terms of the Organised Crime Act, and Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act.
The PP’s recommendations are that the Hawks investigate the matter further, since “the nature of the allegations
and complaints referred to above are largely of criminal nature and may not be executed fully by the Public Protector, without bringing them to the attention or notice of the relevant public authorities charged with criminal investigation and prosecution”.
She has also asked the Speaker of the MLM Council to take urgent steps to ensure disciplinary action is taken against the Municipal Manager and any other officials involved in the matter, within 60 days.
Read the full report below:
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for Mabuyane and Madikizela’s resignations following the publication of the Public Protector’s report.
“It is galling that the Premier and his executive can walk around and preach about tackling corruption, good governance and consequence management, when he himself has had his hand in the cookie jar the entire time,” said the party in a statement.
“It is not about whether the Premier gave back the money he received, after the allegations initially surfaced, but whether he committed wrongdoing in taking the money in the first place. How can we trust this Premier to fight the cancer of corruption in our province, when the Public Protector herself has found he is corrupt?”
Mabuyane and Madikizela could not be reached for comment.