Public protector to probe pageant funding

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miss world 2009

INLSA

2nd princess Miss Mexico, Miss World 2009 from Gibraltar and 3rd princess Miss South Africa growned in Midrand. Picture: Sizwe Ndingane

Johannesburg - The City of Johannesburg is to ask the public protector to investigate the expenditure of R90 million on the Miss World Pageant in 2009.

This follows a walk-out by the DA at the monthly council meeting after the ANC-led council ruled that the matter had been investigated by the municipal public accounts committee that had found no irregularities.

Simultaneously, the ANC-led council voted to formulate a new policy on the issue of confidentiality clauses that were included in the contract signed between the pageant organisers and the Johannesburg Tourism Company.

The DA objected to such confidentiality clauses, saying they were contrary to the right to public information, and accused the ANC of trying to hide information from them and the public.

Councillors who were given copies of the pageant contract were forced to sign confidentiality agreements.

The City of Johannesburg member of the mayoral committee responsible for economic development, Ruby Mathang, said these clauses were new for the council, so a policy on how to deal with them had to be formulated.

He said it was not being done to conceal information.

“We deal with many contracts on a daily basis, and certain companies include intellectual property in such contracts which has to be protected,” he said.

Mathang said the allegations the council was trying to hide corruption was serious and the only way to put the matter to rest was by calling on the public protector to institute a full investigation. He has also called on anyone who knows of any corruption regarding the pageant to come forward and to disclose it.

“We investigated it internally, and thought the matter was dead and buried, but now that doubts and allegations have surfaced again, we thought it right to ask the public protector to investigate.” - The Star

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