MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture Mbali Hlophe. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture Mbali Hlophe. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Two Gauteng companies paid R16.5m to distribute Covid-19 relief funds to artists, athletes who were paid R6K each

By Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published Jun 1, 2021

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Johannesburg - The Gauteng Sports, Arts and Culture Department paid two of its “stakeholders'' an amount of more than R16.5 million to distribute Covid-19 relief funds worth R13.2m to more than 2 000 artists and athletes in the province.

While these stakeholders – Business Arts South Africa (Basa) and the Gauteng Sport Confederation (GSC) – were paid handsomely, each of the 2 201 received only R6 000.

Basa pocketed R9 946 200 and GSC R6 600 000, both inclusive of administration fee.

This was the shocking revelation made by MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture Mbali Hlophe in her written reply to questions by the DA’s spokesperson for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Kingsol Chabalala, in the Gauteng provincial legislature.

Hlophe confirmed that her department had set aside R13.2m which was used to pay the recipients since November last year. According to Hlophe, the payout of R13.2m was made from November until March this year.

She said the qualifying artists and athletes numbered 2 201, while 1 789 applicants were rejected. Hlophe also confirmed that her department used third party agents, Basa and the GSC, to pay the grants, saying no bidding process was followed during their appointments.

“A bidding process was not followed. These service providers were identified as sector stakeholders,” Hlophe said.

She also confirmed that R16.5m was collectively paid to Bas and GSC.

This has outraged Chabalala, who now wants the provincial government to conduct a forensic investigation into funds paid to the entities.

He said the DA in Gauteng is appalled to learn that the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation has spent R16 546 200 on two service providers to administer the payment of R13 206 000 Covid-19 relief grants to the Gauteng athletes and artists.

“It is extremely concerning that two service providers were paid such a ridiculous amount of money, which is higher than the amount individually paid out to artists and athletes.

“The jobs of the two entities enlisted to help administer grants must be audited to ascertain exactly how they used the millions of rand paid to them. Clearly this Covid-19 relief grant did not benefit the financially struggling Gauteng athletes and artists, but a few individuals labelled as ‘department stakeholders’,” Chabalala said.

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Political Bureau

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