The controversial R1.6 million Matatiele Jazz Festival held in December 2011 was a financial disaster.
I will be requesting the Portfolio Committee on Local Government in the Legislature at its next meeting to report this calamity to the Auditor-General.
The Democratic Alliance will support such events if they will create sustained opportunity to lift people out of poverty and create meaningful employment and infrastructure in a cost effective manner.
In this case it did not happen.
An amount of R1,6 million unbudgeted funding from the municipal coffers was spent to host the event.
The total ticket sales for the pre-party and jazz festival amounted to a paltry R179 850 income. This represents 20% of tickets being sold despite assurances from the municipality that all 7 000 tickets would be sold prior to the event.
According to the concept document, the event was intended to provide jobs for 300 people. The Matatiele council report, tabled on 31 January, states that “10 hostesses” were paid a total amount of R41 280.00 and “50 youth” were paid a total of R10 396.80.
It is encouraging that R53 110.00 was spent at tourism and accommodation establishments in Matatiele and another R16 440 in Kokstad, during the event.
But there was no financial return on the investment spent.
We are informed that the funding for this event was not budgeted for. However, the MEC for Local Government, Mlibo Qoboshiyane in reply to an oral question raised by myself in the legislature last year contradicted this by saying that the amount came from Mayoral funds.
When one studies the report to the Matatiele Council, under item 7.4.2, titled “Report on the Mataiele Jazz Festival” the recommend resolution (ii) states:
“The Jazz Festival be included in the Municipal IDP and the budget”.
This resolution clearly indicates that this whole junket was an unfunded mandate.
What is needed is a full audit trail of how this event came about and a proper breakdown on how the money was spent. Matters that remain unexplained are:
• Why no tender process took place in appointing the events company Cyassound;
• Cyassound being invoiced for a 50% deposit of R808 000 on 25 October 2011, three days before the Matatiele council’s meeting on 28 October 2011 for approval;
• The approval of the festival by the Matatiele council on 28 October 2011despite objections for the oppositions and without putting the item to vote.
The Democratic Alliance will continue to oppose such wasteful expenditure to ensure that such monies are channelled to projects that will lift communities out of poverty.