Gauteng MEC defies Gordhan on World Cup Tickets

09 June 2010 - 17:53 By Times LIVE

Despite a National Treasury circular to municipalities that makes it clear that spending municipal funds on tickets constitutes irregular, wasteful and fruitless expenditure in terms of legislation, the MEC has issued his own circular to Gauteng municipalities with instructions on how to circumvent the Finance Minister’s instruction that municipalities should not buy World Cup tickets, says the Democratic Alliance.

"Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan needs to urgently bring Gauteng MEC for Local Government Kgaogelo Lekgoro into line with his directive on municipal purchases of World Cup tickets. Minister Gordhan must now urgently intervene to prevent Mr. Lekgoro from openly flouting his directive," Tim Harris, DA member of the select committee on finance.

He says Lekgoro states in his correspondence that municipalities ought to be purchasing tickets for mayors and municipal managers, and should be justifying this on the basis that attendance at these games could be deemed a “marketing strategy for purposes of promoting the work of the municipality.”

He goes on to say that: “It is recommended… that all Gauteng chosen representatives attend the opening and closing matches” and that “travel to other provinces has to be justified on the partnership building basis.”

MEC Lekgoro also says that municipalities “identify and target those matches in which there will be value add for the municipality in terms of marketing”.

"In a letter to me, dated 7 June - in response to concerns I raised over suggestions that the moratorium on ticket purchases may be lifted - Minister Gordhan confirmed that purchases of tickets would constitute financial misconduct and irregular expenditure in terms of the Public Finance Management Act as well as certain provisions in the Code of Conduct for Public Servants," says Harris.

Harris says If municipalities spend state funds on tickets it will be a slap in the face of the many thousands of South Africans who have not been able to get World Cup tickets, or who cannot afford them. "It will also be an insult to every South African who is told that Gauteng municipalities do not have the funds to deliver them basic services.