Scoundrels who couldn't wait for death of Mandela

06 December 2017 - 05:00 By The Times Editorial
Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela

If a picture tells a thousand words, then the portrait painted in the four years since Nelson Mandela's death is nothing short of a novel.

On December 5 2013, Madiba passed away. It didn't take long for the post-Mandela state to unravel and for the vultures to swoop.

Nothing illustrates the state of our near-instant morass more vividly than Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's report on Monday into how the ANC officials in the Eastern Cape cashed in on Mandela's death and spending for his funeral from the R300-million which was diverted from the infrastructure development grant in one of South Africa's poorest provinces.

The Buffalo City municipality got a particular hammering, with Mkhwebane pointing fingers at senior officials who misused at least R5-million allocated for the Mandela funeral.

Mkhwebane's damning 300-page report detailed a litany of dodgy spending, including almost R6-million paid for the transportation of mourners when the actual number of people ferried could not be verified. It showed that payments, including one of R10-million, were approved over the phone on direct instructions from the ANC and paid to suppliers; and that T-shirts valued at more than R300 each were delivered to a taxi rank.

This blatant fraud and corruption flies in the face of the openness and transparency for which Mandela fought.

How quickly South Africa and its leaders have forgotten - or, perhaps more worryingly, ignored - the standards of ethics and morality that Madiba upheld.

The public protector's findings pour shame on the party for which Mandela sacrificed most of his life. The silence of the party in the wake of Mkhwebane's findings is deeply disturbing.

Who will hold the Madiba standard high if not the governing ANC?