IFP chairperson Blessed Gwala Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo
IFP chairperson Blessed Gwala Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo

The R28m festival that never happened

By Giordano Stolley Time of article published Nov 14, 2016

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Durban – The Inkatha Freedom Party on Monday questioned why the KwaZulu-Natal provincial treasury had taken no action over a R28 million jazz festival for which it had paid and which never took place.

Speaking at a press conference in Durban, Blessed Gwala, the party’s national chairman, said that the party had repeatedly raised questions over the NorthSea Jazz Festival that was supposed to be held in Durban in 2013 and whether the monies spent had been recouped.

“Who has become rich at the expense of the poor and why is it that the treasury is not interested in pursuing the recovery of this money?”

Gwala said that an investigation by the Special Investigating Unit initiated by President Jacob Zuma into this matter had never seen the light of day.

He said answers were also needed as to how much it was costing the treasury in legal fees to challenge the report “Rocking the Boat” released by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela earlier this year.

In that report, Madonsela had found that the dismissal of Fikile Hlatshwayo-Rouget for blowing the whistle in 2013 on the jazz festival as well as air shows being financed by the provincial treasury was illegal.

She ordered Hlatshwayo-Rouget’s reinstatement, but current finance MEC Belinda Scott has taken the matter to court.

Gwala said that it was questionable that the attorney to the previous finance MEC Ina Cronje was appointed to fight Hlatshwayo-Rouget’s re-instatement. He said the public had a right to know how much had been paid in undertaking the legal action.

“The IFP challenges MEC Scott to pay the legal fees from her personal account if she feels so strongly that treasury did the right thing by firing the whistle blower,” said Gwala.

Gwala also questioned the role of a number of senior lawyers in the provincial administration and the influence they had on the government.

African News Agency

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