Parties want dismissed MEC to account for money spent on alcohol

Fired KwaZulu-Natal MEC for sport, arts and culture Amanda Bani will have to come back and explain how the department under her watch had splashed out public funds on alcohol vouchers in one of low-key events organised apparently to empower the creative industry.

Bani was unceremoniously booted out of premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube’s cabinet in April, however, it is not clear what could have prompted the ANC to recall her when she had barely served a year in the portfolio.

Insiders believe that Bani’s failure to attend key arts and culture events in the province broke the camel’s back and led to her sacking.

About R4-million is said to have been spent dishing out booze vouchers amounting to R6 000 each and allegedly given to officials in the department, their spouses, friends and guests to spend at a party hosted in the posh Durban suburb of Morningside in April.

Now the IFP, the main opposition party in the provincial legislature, wants heads to roll following the exposé by an aggrieved service provider.

“We raised several questions regarding the allegations that there was money abused buying alcohol,” IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa told Sunday World.

“We also wanted to know the reasons why the MEC for sport, arts and culture resigned, if it wasn’t for that specific reason. We have raised these questions through the legislature process and we will await the responses.”

Other questions raised include why the vacancy has not been filled since the departure of Bani from her portfolio.

The DA in the province has also wasted no time bemoaning the wasteful expenditure incurred during the event themed under the Beads and Music Festival. It also wants to know how much was spent on accommodation for artists and officials.

“One of the official vehicles belonging to the department was involved in an accident after the event. Please provide details regarding the accident and damages to the vehicles,” wrote DA’s Bradley Singh in a parliamentary question seen by this paper.

Bani is no stranger to controversy.

In 2021 during her tenure as manager in the eThekwini metro integrated development plan unit, she was accused of authorising a fraudulent payment of R140 000 without any work being done.

The payment was apparently for the hiring of a sound system for the annual beach festival.

The department of sport, arts and culture is sticking to its guns, insisting that the low-key event in Morningside was value for money.

It refutes claims that the event was a waste of funds, emphasising its dual mandate to develop artists and provide marketing opportunities and audience development.

“This mandate directs the department to seek ways for artists to gain meaningful audience exposure and coverage,” said Thabo Mofokeng, spokesperson for the department.


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