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Mandela Funeral Funds scandal: Criminal charges laid against Marion Mbina-Mthembu

Dec 11, 2017
Mandela Funeral Funds scandal: Criminal charges laid against Marion Mbina-Mthembu

After laying criminal charges against the Eastern Cape Provincial Government Director-General (DG)‚ Marion Mbina-Mthembu, whom the Democratic Alliance (DA) claims authorised the transfer of funds to corrupt entities and individuals in the so-called Mandela Funeral Funds scandal during her time as Provincial Treasury Head, the party said it was taking action as every day South Africans wake up to fresh scandals that involve those claiming to serve the people and the theft of the people’s money.

"Billions of Rands go unaccounted for under the mismanagement of ANC administrations across the country – from Gauteng to Eastern Cape; from Mogale City to Bisho. These are monies meant for the development of our beautiful country and her people but instead these monies end up in the back pockets of politicians who have long forgotten what it means to put the people and country first," said DA National Spokesperson and Deputy Chairperson, Refiloe Nt’sekhe, in a statement after laying charges against Mbina-Mthembu at the East London SAPS.

Nt’sekhe was joined by the DA Eastern Cape Provincial Spokesperson, Mlindi Nhanha.

"The events happening at Nasrec next week will do nothing to stop the ANC from lying and looting. The ANC cannot self-correct; the ANC is dead and South Africa deserves a New Beginning under a Democratic Alliance-led government, which invests the people’s money into building a better country. Only the people of South Africa have the power to stop corruption through the ballot box come 2019," she said.

"The DA stands here today, having studied the Mandela Funeral Report, which painfully states that R330-million meant for education through the abolishment of mud schools in the Eastern Cape, was used to buy t-shirts. R330 million meant to deliver electricity to villages was used to enrich those close to power.

"What kind of government steals from its people? What kind of government undermines the future of the youth in order to buy t-shirts? The answer is that a corrupt and uncaring ANC steals R330-million, in the name of the late former President Nelson Mandela, from the people of the Eastern Cape and South Africa."

Nt’sekhe said that the Mandela Funeral Report paints an ugly yet clear picture of the kind of corruption that the ANC has become so good at.

"One only needs to read a report of the Public Service Commission or Auditor-General or live where the ANC governs to know that the ANC specialises in looting and lying, in contrast to the DA, which has set the gold standard for government that places people and service delivery first.

"The theft of R330-million by the ANC in this province is another indicator of a crony criminal network masquerading as a ‘government of the people’," she added.

"At the centre of the Eastern Cape Mandela Funeral Funds scandal is the current Eastern Cape Director-General and at the time of committing this crime the Head of the Provincial Treasury, Ms Marion Mbina-Mthembu. Ms Mbina-Mthembu’s name features more than 100-times in the 333-page report by the Public Protector."

Nt’sekhe said that during her time as the Provincial Head of Treasury, Ms Mbina-Mthembu authorised decisions that are described as “irrational” and “unlawful”, it is therefore only right that she and others under investigation are held fully accountable for their role in the theft of R330-million.

"The former Head of the Provincial Treasury has violated a number of statutory provisions, including the Constitution, Treasury Regulations as well as the Public Finance Management Finance Act (PFMA). These are important pieces of legislation which speak to the conduct of the State, officials and the management of people’s money. It cannot be business as usual while laws and the people are actively and illegally undermined.

"The Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities empowers the SAPS to investigate the most severe forms of corruption. We implore the SAPS to act without fear or favour, and to treat this case with the importance it deserves. Investigators assigned to this case must also reject political considerations or pressures," she added.

"Ms Mbina-Mthembu and others must face the full might of the law and swop their suits for orange overalls. The Premier of the Eastern Cape must do the right thing by removing the province’s Director-General, Ms Mbina-Mthembu.

"The Mandela Funeral Report acts to supplement ongoing investigations and the basis of opening new charges.

"Furthermore, we will be writing to the National Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, to seek an update on the ongoing investigations."

Nt’sekhe said that without delay, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba must, as instructed by the Public Protector, write to President Jacob Zuma to sign a proclamation directing the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate a litany of legal transgressions “with a view to institute civil action for the recovery of the loss of public money by organs of state in the procurement of goods and services for the funeral of President Mandela.”

"The longer the ANC remains in office the more our people will robbed of opportunities. South Africans have an opportunity to usher in a New Beginning, where money is not stolen, schools are built, job opportunities are created and women and children are kept safe.

"Corruption is not normal, it is crime that steals from our people, especially the poor. Those found to be taking from our people must put behind bars, not promoted to be the Director-General of the Eastern Cape," she added.