Today [Ed: Wednesday 3 July] the newly elected Premier of the Eastern Cape, Phumulo Masualle, purposefully evaded questions in the House about the alleged Nelson Mandela funeral scandal. The passing of our former President has been blighted by the alleged fraud and corruption that took place in Buffalo City and the Eastern Cape Development Corporation regarding irregular money transfers and procurement practises.
The opportunity to put oral questions to the premier and his executive is a critical tool for effective oversight and to hold them to account.
The DA has fought for many years to have a dedicated day to put such questions. This now happens every Wednesday there is a legislature sitting.
The new premier himself is not immune from some startling allegations in regard to the Mandela funeral. I asked a specific question so that he could explain how certain funds were transferred from the provincial treasury into his private bank account.
However, my original question was rewritten and distorted. I raised this concern with the relevant legislature section that deals with legislature questions and was told that they would endeavour to change the question.
The Premier today used this opportunity to evade my original question by even obfuscating about the amended question. He was vague and gave no figures, no back account details of where the money was transferred to, who was responsible for the transfers and whether the money was accounted for or not.
In fact, the Premier indicated that the whole matter of emergency funding for the funeral of the former President was handled in adherence with all relevant legislation. He also said that no steps were intended to be taken to deal with anyone involved in the transfer of monies for this eventuality.
I objected to my original question being manipulated and asked the Speaker, Noxolo Kiviet, to investigate the matter.
I will again submit my original question on Friday for the next question session to ascertain if the Premier will or can answer and account for the funds that were transferred into his personal bank account.
Today’s events serve merely to frustrate the DA getting to the bottom of the allegations of fraud and corruption relating to the Mandela-funeral. We will not be deterred from seeking and getting the truth, not matter who is involved.
Athol Trollip, MPL
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