Welcome to the Mpumalanga Provincial Government

Media statement on Mandela memorial services

20 March 2014

Thank you members of the media for coming to this press conference at short notice, as the Mpumalanga Provincial Government we felt there is a need for us to clear the air and set the record straight with regards to the media reports on expenditure for the Mandela Memorial.

The media reports seem to suggest that the provincial government appropriated funds from other departments meant for the poor in order to fund the memorial services for our own world icon, Tata Madiba, who passed on late last year.

As a provincial government we are surprised and shocked by such loaded media reports which we regard as misrepresentation of facts informed by politicking with an intention to tarnish the image of our provincial government and that of the ruling party.

There was nothing untoward in the handling of memorial services for our former first democratic President. All due processes were followed in spending for the Mandela Memorial services as stipulated in section 25 of Public Finance Management Act, 1999 [PFMA].

The sequence of events towards the mourning of the late former President included preparations, procurement of services, reporting by the political task team to the Honourable Premier, Budget and Finance Committee, Executive Council, Legislature and the Auditor-General.

While providing the political guidance and ensuring dignified memorial services for our late former President, as a political committee mandated by the Honourable Premier, we would like to reiterate our stance that we are satisfied with the manner all five memorial services were handled. We received value for money.

Section 25 of PFMA prescribes the processes that must be followed by the Provincial Treasury in attending to matters of emergency. As the custodian of any financial emergency, the provincial Treasury identified funds and Votes which were to handle the emergency at hand.

Since it was the former President who had passed on, the Office of the Premier was identified as the vote to handle the memorial services as it is strategic in liaising directly with the Office of the President. The Office of the Premier was tasked to urgently coordinate and manage various events to be held through the Province in honour of Mr Nelson Mandela, which events were scheduled to be held between 9 and 15 December 2013 in all four regions of the province.

In appointing service providers, the Office of the Premier implemented the provincial Supply Chain Management Policy approved by the Executive Council read with National Treasury Practice Note number SCM 3 of 2003 which reads as follows;
“Where unforeseen events make the situation extremely urgent to obtain certain goods or services in the interest of the department that would otherwise not be obtained timeously if the open process was used”.

Further due to the urgent nature of the events, the normal procurement processes could not be followed and the deviation procedure provided for in terms of Treasury Regulation 16A6.4 was followed.

The said regulation provides as follows; “If in a specific case it is impractical to invite competitive bids, the accounting officer… may procure the required goods or services by other means, provided the reasons for deviating from inviting competitive bids must be recorded and approved by the accounting officer….”

The Director-General duly complied with this regulation in that two deviations were authorised and all relevant and legally required information was contained in the said deviations. Furthermore a copy of the said deviations was duly submitted, as required, to both the Provincial Treasury as well as the Office of the Auditor-General.

The services that were procured were that of, inter alia, securing the venues and stadiums concerned, technical services, infrastructure, catering, transport, t-shirts, condolence books, flowers, table cloths candles, stage, outdoor audio-visual screens, bottled water, sound system, tea and coffee, picture frames, banners, South African flags and entertainment.

It was important for the Provincial Government to appoint service providers with the necessary capacity who could provide the required services, effectively and efficiently, within the applicable time frames, given the scope, extent and magnitude of these events, and who could also provide dignity in the mourning services for the former President

Most of the service providers that were initially contacted indicated that they lacked capacity in performing the required functions. They were contracted to provide other functions in support of the main service providers. All service providers contracted were persons previously disadvantaged by unfair discrimination. A number of the service providers were black women.

The events were a success as transport, catering and numerous event-related items had to be provided and be procured in respect of the various venues where the provincial memorial events took place. All five rallies held in the Province were successful and the attendance was as follows: Middelburg 10 000 people, Ermelo 25 000 people, Bushbuckridge 20 000 people and Driekoppies 15 000 people.

The main memorial service was held at Mbombela Stadium. It was attended by more than 80 000 people who travelled from different corners of the Province. This event was connected by satellite to the main national event held in Gauteng.

Furthermore, Mpumalanga received more than 73 000 signatures from the mourners; we further conducted 46 events (prayer services) throughout the Province as part of mourning activities.

It is our understanding that the journalists who wrote the stories did not attend the tabling of the provincial budget, post budget media briefing as well as post budget stakeholder engagement programme, we found it disturbing that the Department of Finance was not and has not been asked to clarify the contents of the Bill that was so grossly misinterpreted.

The articles that were published are therefore based on total misunderstanding of the Bill and its content. It is based on this observation that we want to correct the inaccurate information presented as facts by the media. The total Adjustment Budget that was tabled on 11 March 2014 amounts to R114m.

The adjustment budget covered three main areas as would be described herein.

Jobs-creating investment project

The Executive Council took a decision to support the Oilseed Crushing Plant Project in Lekwa Local Municipality. The Municipality required a deposit of R20m payable to Eskom to solve electricity supply challenge. The intervention of the Province is this regard will enable the Oilseed Crushing Plant and Astral to operate, thus unlocking the economic spinoffs of at least R850m and assisting in job creation efforts of the Province.

This amount has been appropriated to the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, which is responsible for promotion of investments in the Province.

The budget is allocated from the following sources:

• Departments of Public Works, Road and Transport and Human Settlements each contributed R5m from compensation of employees. These funds were not going to be spent the financial year ending 31 March 2014 due to time lack in filling of posts.

• Social Development released R10m from capital expenses. The Capital expenses item relates to land that was not secured. This has absolutely nothing to do with food parcels and funds for charities. It was decided that instead of pushing for a rollover, the funds can still be appropriated to a project that will provide opportunities for societal development, through jobs created for the people.

Improvement in salaries and allowance

The second area funded through the Adjustment Budget Bill, 2014 is the improvements in the salaries and allowance of the Members of the Provincial Houses of Traditional Leaders as well as the Headmen and Headwomen as gazetted in February 2014.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs received R24 million to implement this salary and allowance increases effective from 1 April 2013. This budget is made up of contributions as follows:

• Department of Finance contributed R10m of which R4.5m is from compensation of employees, and

• Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs shifted R14m from within its compensation of employees.

Emergency funding for mourning

The third area that the Mpumalanga Special Adjustments Appropriation Bill, 2014 addresses is the pre-approved estimated expenditure for the period of mourning. The sources of the budget for the period of mourning are funds from own revenue accumulated but not yet appropriated for emergencies in the Provincial Revenue Fund; funds owed to the Provincial Revenue Fund, and declared savings because of a project that has been delayed due to non-responsive bids during the Supply Chain Management processes.

The estimated R70m arose from the recommendations of an established committee, comprising of community leaders, religious leaders and officials, who defined the nature and scope of the mourning programme.

The recommendation of the committee included establishing mourning centres across the Province; organising and hosting prayer sessions, and conducting rallies to meet the expectations of the people of Mpumalanga.

All the work around the Special Adjustments Appropriation Bill, 2014 was reported to the Speaker of the Provincial Legislature and the Office of the Auditor General of South Africa. We have noted the expression of shock about the Special Bill. We have also noted the call for an investigation of this matter.

We are however of the opinion that the matter is now in the hands of the Provincial Legislature, which will evaluate and provide feedback on the Bill and later end year financial statements of all departments that benefited from the Adjustment Appropriation Bill, 2014.

We are therefore not in position to talk about the merit and demerits of expenditure until the Provincial Legislature has pronounced itself on the Special Adjustment Appropriation Bill, 2014.

The Office of the Auditor General of South Africa will soon commence with auditing of financial and non-financial performance of the Provincial Departments. All expenditure for the financial year will be subjected to auditing by the Office of the Auditor General of SA.

The financial resources were provided by the Provincial Treasury. There is no programme that could be said is running short of funds as a result of the Special Adjustments Appropriation Bill, 2014.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen,


Additional documents on Mandela Memorial spending by Mpumalanga Provincial Government:

Concept document - Late President Mandela
Deployment for mourning centres
Estimated Itemised Budget - President Mandela Mourning Sessions
Statistical presentation on the condolences

Issued by Mpumalanga Provincial Government

Enquiries: Mr Zibonele Mncwango
Spokesperson: Mpumalanga Premier
Tel: (013) 766 2453
Mobile: 079 491 0163
E-mail: zmncwango@mpg.gov.za

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