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Mcebisi Jonas and the corruption at the Mandela funeral

By BO Staff Writer

Yesterday, the Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, ordered that President Jacob Zuma call in the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate corruption and unlawful appropriation of funds at the Nelson Mandela funeral in 2013.

Mkhwebane found evidence of inflation of prices, misappropriation of funds, poor planning and disregard for supply chain regulations, amounting to about R300 million.

“As far as the poor planning is concerned, it is very scary, I must say. It is very concerning. You find an email being sent to the ECDC [Eastern Cape Development Corporation] telling it to pay R11 million by 11 o’clock and the documents will follow. You find a company that has produced t-shirts, but they are not delivered. You find that the person who signed for the t-shirts is not even an employee of the municipality,” Mkhwebane said as she addressed a press briefing in Pretoria on Monday.

A clearly disturbed Mkhwebane asked,
“How do you pay R10 or R11 million without receiving any supporting documents?”

Former deputy finance minister, Mcebisi Jonas is intricately implicated in the looting of the funds. Last year, we published the following open letter to Jonas questioning his moral standing after he was implicated in the Mandela funeral debacle. The open letter also unearthed other instances of corruption Jonas was part of when he was still in the ECDC. Read the open letter below:

Dear Mcebisi Jonas,

Whilst I commend you for breaking your silence I strongly believe that we should allow space for people with concerns to come forward without fear of victimisation.

I feel obliged to bring to the attention of the nation the troubling incidents involving you as a leader entrusted with public finances.

At face value your action seems a heroic deed but on lifting the curtain one gets a worrying picture about your character and moral integrity.

UyiMpisi eyombathe isikhumba seGusha.

Firstly, it is a fact that you left under a cloud of corruption as CEO of Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC). You were suspended and later resigned after being arrested by the Serious Economic Crimes Unit for fraud relating to the R9-million sale of Mpekweni Resorts. The situation was so serious that, following a forensic investigation, the Provincial Economics Minister, Andre de Wet, subsequently sacked the entire ECDC board.

Secondly, the allegations of corruption made against you and three other senior politicians, while you were MEC for Economic Development and Tourism in Eastern Cape, were fully backed up. To this end the Judge Ronnie Pillay Commission report revealed in chilling detail that you, together with your family, pocketed R200-million of public funds supposed to be utilised to aid the poor. The report said another R250-million simply disappeared from the Province’s public coffers over a decade.

But the most troubling incident has got to be your implication in the misappropriation of the Mandela funeral funds. R65-million was spent without following proper procurement procedures. In this regard, funds appeared in personal bank accounts triggering the Hawks investigation.

So, while we braved the chilling cold in the streets of London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Milton Kings – standing shoulder to shoulder with friends of the Republic – the nation and the rest of the world mourned the death of our Founding Father of a free nation, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Once again you and your allies saw an opportunity to help yourselves with funds supposed to be utilised to rest our first democratically elected President in peace.

These incidents are serious and raise questions about a decision by the executive that despite your reputation they appointed you in the Treasury to oversee the Public Investment Corporation, which handles more than R1.8-trillion in assets.

Now all of this begs important questions, one of which is what have you been up to since joining the Treasury and why are you there? In my view the offer you say was tabled by the Guptas is one of many and I am convinced that you accepted most of them. You are in the Treasury after all, despite your reputation!

One wonders how many Mcebisi Jonas’s are lurking in the ranks of the Congress and State Ministries yet to be discovered. This is just the tip of the iceberg!

Yours sincerely
Xolani Xala

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