Department does not (yet) have answers about ‘super-fence’

Henry

It seems that the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture is scrambling to find answers to a Paia application about what South Africa’s much-discussed and ever-traveling super sports fans are costing the taxpayer.

The department pays Joy Chauke, better known as Mama Joy, and Botha Msila to attend sporting events where South African teams participate.

The two were spotted this week in the Ivory Coast next to the football pitch where they went to cheer on Bafana Bafana. However, the South African football team was kicked out of the tournament in the semi-final against Nigeria.

The apparently cozy positions of the two “super-fans” at the department were questioned after the two were constantly spotted at the World Cup rugby tournament in France where they fueled the Springboks. The department then said their presence played a major role “in demonstrating how South Africa uses sport to recover from the divisions of the past”.

But there were certainly major divisions over Chauke and Msila traveling the world and attending sporting events at taxpayers’ expense. Moreover, the department did not want to answer questions about how Chauke and Msila were chosen – nor how much the project cost the department.

Renaldo Gouws, a DA councillor, submitted an application in terms of the Act on the Promotion of Access to Information, known as a Paia application, in January this year in an attempt to force the department to provide the answers.

The department received Gouws’ application on 8 January and had to respond to it within 30 days in terms of legislation.

This was not met.

“Due to pending consultations with the department’s internal client, the response cannot be delivered within the original period of 30 days,” reads a letter from the department to Gouws. The department is now asking for an extension of 20 days, to respond to the request by 26 February.

Gouws asked the department for a breakdown of all costs associated with the so-called “super-fence” since the project was launched. He also wants to know who is funding it, how people are chosen for the role and how much the project has cost so far.

Gouws wrote on X that those who want to know from him why he is so quiet about Mama Joy and the super supporter initiative should instead ask the department why it still needs time to give answers to taxpayers about how much money has been spent.

“Something tells me they’re slowing down the process because the actual number is scary.”

Gouws was accused on social media, among other things, of being supposedly “silent” about the issue because Mama Joy attended a rugby match. “You have no problem with her at a soccer match.”

To this Gouws replied: “Oh, I did.” Anything that costs the taxpayer money is a problem – especially if it is a cadre who is compensated for her services rendered.”

Another user accused Gouws of targeting a “spirited, black woman”.