A year later, we still wait for Finance Minister Pravin Gordon’s investigation into the 2010 World Cup tickets spending

Why did we spend so much money on world cup tickets instead of spending the millions, if not billions, on alleviating the high level of poverty South Africa especially government departments financed through taxation? This despite the ‘painful and expensive cost’ of hosting the tournament and the R3.3 billion it cost South Africa to successfully host the Fifa tournament.

Is the spending on world cup tickets by government departments and parastatal organisations “an indication thatSouth Africadoes have money to spend on anything unnecessarily unimportant and somewhat useless except on improving the poor living conditions of the poor communities in the country”?

A Sunday Times newspaper reported that many government departments and parastatal entities had spent millions, if not billions, of rands on World Cup tickets.

This, to a normal person, was worrying but it is quite clear that to government it was not because even former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel defended government’s expenditure on world cup tickets, saying some “parastatals are business entities and these business entities have to run themselves in a particular way”.

Manuel said “we mustn’t hyperventilate when the national airline takes tour operators and builds a relationship with them, because that is building the business”. He said parastatals were business entities and these business entities have to run themselves in a particular way without being compared to other government departments.

Parastatals that reportedly spent thousands to millions and billions of rands on world cup tickets as revealed by opposition party Democratic Alliance include:

  • Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) spent R10.8-million;
  • Airports Company ofSouth Africa(ACSA) R4.7-million;
  • Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) R1.4-million; and while
  • South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) spent R2.2-million

It further made disturbing revelation on “wasteful expenditure” by the State and parastatals. According to an updated Expenditure Monitoring, the following was made known that:

  • R 9.5 million spent by the Department of Defence on a dedicated DoD VIP lounge at OR Tambo International Airport for use by Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, department officials and official guests.
  • R 3 million spent on a statue of King Shaka Zulu forDurban’s new King Shaka International Airport which was removed because KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize and King Goodwill Zwelithini did not like it.
  • R 1.5 million spent by the ANC-run eThekwini municipality on a statue of an elephant that was removed because it resembled the emblem of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP). The statues were commissioned as the first part of a multi-million rand upgrade of Durban’s new Warwick Avenue interchange.
  • R 1.4 million spent by the Department of Public Service and Administration on two luxury cars for Minister Richard Baloyi, a BMW X5 3.0d (at R 712 400) and a Mercedes-Benz E350 CDI (at R 666 850).
  • R 1.5 million spent by the Department of Transport on self-congratulatory advertorial inserts in several national newspapers, each featuring 27 full-colour photographs of Transport Minister S’bu Ndebele.
  • R 319 000 spent by the Department of Public Works on new furniture
  • R 31 000 spent by Gauteng Premier and ANC National Executive Committee Member Nomvula Mokonyane.

And a further digging found that:

  • R 16.7 million spent by the Department of Trade and Industry (including the Industrial Development Corporation)
  • R 12 million spent by Eskom
  • R 12.5 million spent by PetroSA
  • R 1.4 million spent by the Central Energy Fund on World Cup tickets.
  • R 5.2 million spent by the Department of Communications
  • At least R 4.5 million spent by the ANC-run City of Johannesburg on World Cup tickets, T-shirts and other paraphernalia. DA councillors gave their tickets back in accordance with party policy.
  • R 4 million spent by the ANC-run Gauteng provincial government
  • R 6,8 million spent by the ANC-run Free State province
  • R 15 million spent by Mangaung Municipality in theFree State
  • R 918 973 spent by the Department of Tourism
  • R 23 million spent by South African Airways (SAA)
  • R 800 000 spent by the South African Post Office
  • R 314 000 spent by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
  • R1 million spent by Sentech
  • R3, 3 million spent by the SABC
  • R 730 520 spent by Mbombela Municipality
  • R 1, 2 million spent by Mpumulanga’s Department of Sport, Art, Recreation and Culture
  • R 500 000 spent by Tshwane municipality
  • R 278 160 spent by theEastern Cape’s Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture

Parastatal Sasol lost out on world cup ticket scams which cost millions. Some of these tickets were given to poverty-stricken communities, orphanages and while others were given to politicians, executive members and board members.

Unfortunately, it was sad that one government official who refused to buy tickets for his boss suspended, but later reinstated after the province’s premier’s intervention.

Manuel warned against the hyperventilation on the national airline South African Airways, also a parastatal entity, for taking tour operators and builds a relationship with them. He said this was important as it was meant to building the business. Of course he is right that there must be a difference between government departments and parastatals such as SAA, PetroSA, Eskom and Telkom, to mention a few.

One cannot, however, stomach how Manuel could have defended the so-called parastatals especially those that have had financial difficulties, if not mismanagement over the last couple of months or years. These include Sentech that spent about R1, 7m, according to another Mail & Guardian report.

These thousands and millions were unfortunately spent on tickets and by taxpayers’ money. Why?

Why spend so much on world cup tickets and make Fifa richer than it now is while many of our people are drowning in hunger and poverty?

DA called this a wasteful expenditure, and that the spending was out of touch with economic realities inSouth Africa and this received the attention of the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Gordhan said an investigation would be lodged into the masterful expenditure.

He said in a statement that while there may be legitimate reasons for buying tickets to advance the business case of public enterprises and government departments, concern has been raised as to what action may be taken should the auditor general deem this expenditure wasteful.

Meanwhile President Jacob Zuma said the World Cup investment has paid off. What the hell?

This is an edited article I first published on 7 July last year in a blog I owned then but no longer own

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