Private firm also probes Mandela funeral scandal

AMID investigations by public protector Thuli Madonsela and elite police unit the Hawks, the controversial Nelson Mandela funeral scandal has taken a new twist.

Eastern Cape Provincial Planning and Treasury (PPT) MEC Sakhumzi Somyo has appointed a private firm to probe his department.

However, the office of premier Phumulo Masualle is in the dark about such investigations.

Somyo appointed Pretoria-based George Fivaz Forensic and Risk investigators. He wants to know if the mandate by a provincial executive council resolution to assist in the funeral of former president Mandela was carried out by the province.

The private firm is expected to question PPT head Marion Mbina-Mthembu, who was tasked to oversee and monitor the payment of funds.

It is likely Masualle, who was finance MEC at the time, will also be called to answer questions.

The department, under Mbina-Mthembu's watch, paid R250000 into Masualle's private account, which he rejected. The money was paid back immediately and a special paycard was created.

Treasury spokeswoman Nosisa Sogayise confirmed the investigations were being undertaken and said "there were issues" of control that needed to be dealt with.

However, provincial government spokeswoman Nomfanelo Kota said they were not aware of the investigation.

"The provincial DDG [deputy director-general Mbulelo Sogoni] made it clear in an instruction and there was a media statement that all the investigations about the Mandela funeral are being handled by the public protector and no one was to investigate unless that is informed by the public protector's report," said Kota. - Bongani Fuzile