Johannesburg – To avoid further embarrassment during state funerals, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has recommended that Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba coordinate a guided plan for future events.
This comes after the release of Mkhwebane’s damning report on Monday, which revealed how R300m, meant for the poor and indigent in the Eastern Cape, was misused for former president Nelson Mandela’s funeral in 2013.
Mkhwebane pointed to poor planning in national, provincial and local government as the key ingredient to the wasteful expenditure during the icon’s funeral.
“There was no properly coordinated plan for all role players in the funeral and related activities from the level of national, provincial and public entities, despite the fact that there were earlier discussions and a plan at national level for the funeral of Mandela. It did not translate into advanced and coordinated planning in the Eastern Cape provincial government,” she said.
In her shock report, Mkhwebane spoke about how irregular and fruitless spending was the result of some service providers capitalising on weaknesses in the system.
READ: R300m meant for the indigent wasted under cover of Mandela funeral – Public Protector
She said prices were unnecessarily inflated in the procurement of goods.
“Invoices were paid and there is no proof that goods were delivered,” she added.
Mkhwebane said she uncovered collusion between officials and service providers at the expense of state resources.
“Some of the list of service providers used were not on the list of the supplier database and seemed to have appeared from nowhere.”
She has recommended that Gigaba, as head of the National Treasury, establish a task team of role players at all levels of government, to develop a coordinated plan for the eventuality of state funerals provided for in the ministerial handbook.
“Once the coordinated plan is approved, the minister [must] direct that it is issued as an instruction to all organs of state to ensure that unauthorised, irregular and fruitless expenditure in respect of state funerals is avoided in the future.
In her remedial action, she has also advised that President Jacob Zuma enact the SIU to investigate further unlawful expenditure.