Public protector correct: R300m of Nelson Mandela burial money was stolen

08 March 2019 - 17:52 By Iavan Pijoos
The high court has dismissed an application by Eastern Cape provincial government director-general Marion Mbina-Mthembu to set aside public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's findings that R300m meant for Nelson Mandela's burial was misappropriated.
The high court has dismissed an application by Eastern Cape provincial government director-general Marion Mbina-Mthembu to set aside public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's findings that R300m meant for Nelson Mandela's burial was misappropriated.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is pleased that the high court has affirmed her findings on the plundering of public resources during the burial of former president Nelson Mandela.

The high court in the Eastern Cape on Thursday dismissed an application by provincial government director-general Marion Mbina-Mthembu to set aside Mkhwebane's findings concerning the funeral of Mandela in 2013.

In December 2017, Mkhwebane released her 333-page report after an investigation into alleged misappropriation of public funds, improper conduct and maladministration by the provincial government and other organs of state, including four municipalities, in connection with expenditure incurred for the funeral and memorial services.

The investigation found, among other maladies, evidence of widespread irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the procurement of goods and services for the memorial and funeral.

The expenditure was found to have failed to meet the test of fairness, equity, transparency, competitiveness and cost-effectiveness.

Mbina-Mthembu expressed her unhappiness in 2018 about Mkhwebane’s findings that that public funds amounting to R300m were improperly diverted from the Eastern Cape Development Corporation’s social infrastructure delivery programme towards the memorial and funeral services.

Mkhwebane's acting spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, said at the time that Mbina-Mthembu had called Mkhwebane "idiotic".

Mkhwebane said the court's decision to dismiss the application paved the way "for the full implementation" of the remedial action she had directed various organs of state to take.

She also welcomed the court's decision to award her costs.

"To take the public protector’s report on review has never meant that the report is of poor quality. It's similar to appealing a court judgment. It is merely a legal avenue available to aggrieved parties, who believe another forum could arrive at a different decision," Mkhwebane said.

"A lot of work goes into the writing of our reports. Our investigation officials, who are legal brains in their own right, work rigorously to see to it that each finding is backed up by irrefutable evidence."


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