Struggle veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral cost more than R35 million. Picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS
Struggle veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral cost more than R35 million. Picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS

Crackdown on State funerals’ spending

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published May 4, 2021

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Cape Town - The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure is cracking down on huge costs for state and official funerals with new standards developed to cut down on these costs.

This follows revelations a few years ago of the millions paid for the funeral of late Struggle stalwart Winnie Madizela-Mandela and other veterans.

There was an outcry after it emerged a total of R76 million was paid for the three funerals in 2018.

Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral cost more than R35m. The government had spent R29m on the funeral of former Cabinet minister Zola Skweyiya and more than R11m on the funeral of former diplomat Billy Modise.

Acting director-general in the Department of Public Works Imtiaz Patel told MPs on Tuesday that they were working on a plan to cut down on the costs of funerals for officials.

“With respect to funerals, have made a huge effort to move away from the old practices of excessive expenditure for the state funerals, in a respectful way. We have developed a new standard for state funerals which we engaged our minister (Patricia de Lille) on and subsequently we engaged the Presidency and other stakeholders,” said Patel.

“The funerals have specific standards in terms of maximum expenditure in terms of categories of official and state funerals. We have certain ceilings in terms of expenditure and implemented this during the last 12 months in particular. What has helped from that perspective is that Covid, obviously, had restrictions in terms of what we could and couldn’t do.

“What all this has done, the standard and the environment has kept our expenditure on state funerals to a very minimal level where we were spending on average between R60 000 and R120 000 on some of the funerals. So we moved away from excessive expenditure and this standard is working in our favour,” said Patel.

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Political Bureau

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