EFF calls for criminal action against firm.
ECONOMIC Freedom Front (EFF) in Limpopo has vowed to mount pressure on Sports, Arts and Culture MEC Onnica Moloi to lay criminal charges in relation to shenanigans around Mapungubwe Jazz Festival.
The party’s provincial secretary Jossey Buthane has insisted that Moloi must lay charges against a company contracted to acquire the services of an American singer Anthony Hamilton to perform at the jazz festival in December 2017.
The department allegedly facilitated the payment of R2,5 million to an agent that promised to bring the singer to Limpopo. However, the singer failed to land in South Africa.
The money was allegedly paid by the National Lottery, one of the “sponsors” of the jazz festival. Hamilton was a last-minute replacement for Canadian-born singer Tamia who cancelled at the eleventh-hour weeks after Moloi unilaterally added her to the line-up.
There were also allegations that some of the goods and services were directly procured from Moloi’s office – in breach of the Public Finance Management Act.
African Times reported earlier that the budget for the 2017 festival was never made public while Head of Department Mortimer Mannya was allegedly kept in the dark about aspects of procurement.
It was also reported that some artists rendered services and got paid without any contracts, and that shoddy arrangements resulted in Tamia, Hamilton and Nigerian singers Davido and D’Banj failing to attend the festival despite their names having been used to woo fans.
Tickets were sold at between R200 and R1 500 each.
Jazz legend Jonas Gwangwa and Afro-pop group Bongo Maffin were roped in as last-minute replacements for international artists.
Buthane in a statement said: “Why is it that year in and year out the department makes headlines for all the wrong reasons especially with the Mapungubwe Jazz Festival? This festival has become a vehicle through which money disappears to enrich politicians and some of their friends in the music industry.
‘The R2,5 million paid to this “doggy company” could have improved the lives of many up and coming local artists and just benefitting one individual called an international artist. The obsession with the so called international artists does not come with any noble intentions but it has its thinking rooted in thievery and looting.
“The MEC must open a criminal case on this matter against the “con company” and charge all responsible officials from the department and stop sugar-coating this wasteful spending. Failure to so, the EFF will be left with no option but to demand that the MEC be liable for the R2,5 million loss.
“We will be going for her as the person responsible for the department to personally pay back the money. We are making a call to the government to stop undermining local artists but inste become world class artists.”
But the spokesperson for the MEC of Sports Arts and Culture in Limpopo, Moloko Moloto, said: “The Limpopo Department of Sport, Arts & Culture did not spend a single cent on Anthony Hamilton.
“Allegations that the department paid R2.5 million to a “con company” are totally untrue. The services of Anthony Hamilton were procured by a private sponsor and the transactions happened between the sponsor and Anthony Hamilton’s agent. It is also not true that we ignore local artists.
“Over 90 percent of artists who performed at the Mapungubwe Arts Festival come from Limpopo.”