Board to be quizzed on funeral funds

THE Bhisho legislature is to ask the Eastern Cape Development Corporation’s board to explain its spending of R22-million on Madiba’s funeral preparations.

A heated discussion among the legislature’s executive council members on Wednesday resolved that premier Noxolo Kiviet should meet the board urgently.

The funds were drawn from R330-million meant for social infrastructure in the Transkei region.

The decision to call the meeting follows a media exposé two weeks ago which revealed that more than R22-million had been spent during the period of Madiba’s funeral on items such as R5-million for T-shirts and R333360 on hamburgers and R441560 on fried chicken.

The national Treasury had instructed that state funds were to be used only on transporting mourners and securing venues for Madiba’s memorial services. ECDC management tabled a report to its board two weeks ago showing the money was spent on instruction from the provincial Treasury.

The report suggested that claims for the Mandela funeral could leap to more than R90-million.

The R330-million was transferred to the ECDC in October last year, and the parastatal’s role was that of an implementing agent.

The board suspended ECDC head Sitembele Mase four days after the report was tabled and fellow board member Reggie Naidoo has stepped in as acting chief executive.

It is understood that at this week’s exco meeting the media reports were a subject of discussion, and that exco members demanded answers from the provincial Treasury.

After intense discussions, members resolved that Kiviet convene an urgent meeting with the ECDC board. – Zine George

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