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Johannesburg - Opposition parties welcomed the arrest of former National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) head Andile Lungisa on Friday.
Lungisa and three other people were arrested on Friday morning on charges of fraud and money laundering. He handed himself over to police.
Hawks spokesman Paul Ramaloko said the arrests related to R2.5 million paid by the arts and culture department for the Nelson Mandela Sports Day concert.
The four allegedly lied to the department and promised that they would have R Kelly perform.
At the time of the concert, the department said it had entered into negotiations with the promoter of the R&B singer's recent tour to South Africa.
It was subsequently announced that the star was on the bill for the music concert that would follow the day's sporting events.
However, it was discovered that R Kelly's management had been unaware of the agreement, and he had departed the country as planned.
The four were expected to appear in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Friday afternoon.
The Democratic Alliance welcomed the arrest and commended the Hawks for their quick action.
“We trust that other public figures implicated in defrauding the public purse will also be arrested,” DA spokesman Niekie van den Berg said.
The Inkatha Freedom Party Youth Brigade also welcome the arrests.
Spokeswoman Boniswa Tiwe said every effort should be made to bring those involved in acts of corruption to book.
“It is our expectation that the investigation of the Hawks will extend beyond what has been reported and look into the financial history of the NYDA under Mr Lungisa's tenure as board chairperson,” she said.
Civil rights group AfriForum said that if the allegations were true, “it's especially deplorable as funds are stolen from the pockets of entrepreneurs”.
AfriForum Youth spokesman Henk Maree said in a statement AfriForum wanted to see justice prevail without political interference.
“The taxpayers have now coughed up enough. We request that the investigation be made public as it's money from the public that is stolen and wasted,” he said.