South Africa: DA Demands Forensic Audit Into Dodgy Cape Minstrel Grants

Google satellite view of a luxury house in North West which was partly paid with money that was supposed to be used to build an old age home. Image from Google Maps.
press release

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the Auditor-General's (AG) decision to consider investigating the suspicious finding of the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Association (CTMCA) by the National Lotteries Commission (NLC).

The DA requested the AG to conduct a full forensic investigation into the CTMCA after it was revealed, through Parliamentary questions, that they received a whopping R54 403 058 in grants from the NLC. The funding includes:

R 27 320 758,64 for an Annual Workshop and the Carnival Heritage Museum;

R 13 322 300 for another Annual Workshop and Infrastructure; and

A total of R 13 750 000 was granted for a Socio Economic Cohesion Symposium, Cultural Awareness campaign and the introduction of a Community Magazine.

Museum:

With regards to the first grant of R 27 320 758 the NLC could only account for R5 million (or 18%) which was used for building of the Carnival Heritage Museum.

It was further revealed the land (in Schaap Kraal, ERF 1221) was bought by the organisation but subsequently sold. The purchased land was under CTMCA ownership but it is now renting a building where the Museum is operating now in 5/7 Crete Road, Wetton, Cape Town.

It is unclear why a property was purchased and for what amount and why and to whom the property was then sold to, given that the CTMCA now has to rent a property.

Annual Workshop and Infrastructure:

With regards to the R 13 322 300 grant for an Annual Workshop and Infrastructure, the NLC could only account for R 801 000 (or 6%) of the total grant which was spent on the workshop where a planned 150 people were to attend. If indeed all 150 attended, it amounts to a spending of R5 340 per person.

The remaining R12 531 300, supposedly for infrastructure, is unaccounted for. This despite the fact I asked in my Parliamentary question what amount was spent on infrastructure and what infrastructure was purchased.

Symposium and Campaign, plus Magazine:

The final grant of R 13 750 000 for a Socio Economic Cohesion Symposium and Cultural Awareness campaign and the introduction of a Community Magazine, a total amount of "about" R8 290 000 was spent on the magazine, while the remaining amount of "about" R5 460 000 was spent on the Socio Economic Cohesion Symposium and Cultural Awareness campaign.

It must have been quite a symposium! Where is all the missing money?

The hollow defence of the CTMCA that the NLC has indeed conducted their own audit, rings hollow given the unaccounted funds highlighted in the Parliamentary replies. In fact, given the ambiguity of the replies it is blaringly obvious that no such audit did take place and that the NLC has little or no clue as to whether grant money was spent on what it was provided for.

The DA expects the AG office to confirm that a full forensic audit of the R54 403 058 will indeed take place.

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