Government to spend wisely during Mama Winnie memorials

Written by Jauhara Khan
The allocation of resources from provincial and local government should be done carefully and mindful of the country’s limited resources, said Dr Mkhize.

Provincial and local government should be mindful of the country’s limited resources when hosting memorial events for ‘Mama’ Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

This was according to Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.

The statement comes after Eastern Cape government officials were accused of wasting funds allocated for the provision of services such as water, electricity, sanitation, and the replacement of mud schools under the cover of late President Nelson Mandela’s funeral in 2013.

More than R300 million was misspent at the time and revealed in a damning report by the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane published in April 2017.

“Strong lessons have been learnt from previous State and Official funerals. Amongst these have been the need to balance understandable grief and the need for urgent action, with the requirement of strict adherence to the rules and regulations of financial management policies,” said Mkhize.

Madikizela-Mandela died at age 81 in Johannesburg last Monday. She has been afforded a category 1 special official funeral reserved for persons of extraordinary credentials by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Provinces, municipalities and non-governmental institutions have indicated their intentions of hosting commemorative events in honour of Madikizela-Mandela.

Dr Mkhize provided guidelines for these structures regarding farewell arrangements.

He said that the declaration of a national funeral for Madikizela-Mandela did not mean that other spheres of government could host memorial events of their own.

Provincial and municipal councils needed to formally resolve and declare commemorative events. The resolution should be accompanied by a clearly defined decision of how financial resources would be assigned to these events and voted for by the relevant authority. 

The allocation of resources from provincial and local government should be done with frugality and mindful of the country’s limited resources, said Dr Mkhize.

He warned that procurement for events should comply with both the Municipal Finance Management Act and the Public Finance Management Act.

“I urge the municipal councils as the highest authority in the municipality to continue exercising oversight and ensure approval of spending guided by the MFMA. I am confident that the councils will work hand-in-hand with the municipality’s management to ensure that there is financial prudence,” said Minister.

A memorial service for Madikizela-Mandela will be held at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday, 11 April 2018. The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on State and Official Funerals (IMC) will release further logistical details tomorrow, 10 April 2018 in a media briefing.

Madikizela-Mandela's funeral will take place at Orlando Stadium on Saturday, 14 April 2018, followed by the burial at Fourways Memorial Park Cemetery.

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