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City approaches public protector on minstrel funding

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A formal complaint about Lotto funding spent by the Cape Minstrel Carnival Association was handed to the public protector’s office on Monday, the City of Cape Town said.

“The city wants the public protector to investigate how exactly the association spent the nearly R40.64 million paid out by the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund between 2012 and 2014,” mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said.

The city and Western Cape government had already invested millions in the event, he said.

The public protector’s office confirmed receipt of the complaint on Monday morning.

“It will undergo our standard assessment process to establish if it falls within our remit and whether there is any merit to the claims,” spokesman Oupa Segalwe said.

“This process usually takes up to five working days. Only then will the public protector be in a position to decide whether or not the matter will be accepted for investigation,” he said.

According to a statement issued by the National Lotteries Board last month, R13.32m was paid in 2012 and 2013 for carnival costs, while R27.32m was paid in 2014. R14.32m of this was for carnival costs and R13m for the Carnival Heritage Museum, said Smith.

The city was given false impressions about the funding of the minstrels and was unaware of additional funding from the Lotto, he said.

“We have a situation where the city signed an agreement with the minstrels at the end of last year… and gave them certain funding… which covers pretty much all of their expenses.”

The provincial government and the city gave the minstrels R6m.

The city referred the matter to the protector after audited financial statements from the association showing how the public funds were spent were not forthcoming.

“It is difficult to understand what the money could be have been spent on, especially as there was no visible expenditure on the carnival and the various minstrel troupes and boards have indicated that they have not received any benefit.”

Smith said the handling of the minstrel event was riddled by mismanagement, non-payment of service providers, and a lack of transparency. SAPA

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