Nelson Mandela’s family wants funeral looters punished

Africa

Daniel Mumbere with AGENCIES

The Mandela family has expressed dismay that South African officials shamelessly benefited from the anti-apartheid hero’s funeral four years ago.

The Royal House of Mandela in the Eastern Cape Province say they were utterly disappointed when they heard that officials misspent about $22m (£16m) allocated to memorial events.

“We find it incredulous that while we, as a family, a nation – and indeed the world – were mourning the loss of our elder, icon, leader and statesman, some people were allegedly conniving to profit financially by shamelessly siphoning off funds or alternatively allegedly not observing good governance in terms of following due protocol, observing delegations or mandates,” said Mr Mandela’s grandson, Chief Mandla Mandela.

We find it incredulous that while we, as a family, a nation – and indeed the world – were mourning the loss of our elder, icon, leader and statesman, some people were allegedly conniving to profit financially by shamelessly siphoning off funds or alternatively allegedly not observing good governance in terms of fol

The embezzled funds were meant for the provision of running water, electricity, sanitation, ablution facilities, the replacement of mud schools and refurbishment of hospitals in one of the country’s poorest regions.

Nearly two weeks ago, Public Protector, Mr Busisiwe Mkhwebane, released a damning report last week detailing how the Eastern Cape provincial government demanded millions for preparations for the former South Africa leader’s burial in his Qunu home.

According to the report, officials inflated several costs and awarded tenders fraudulently.

Chief Mandla, who is also an African National Congress (ANC) legislator, said he wants heads to roll.

“The allegations should be tried and tested in a court of law, ensuring that the criminal justice system takes its full course and should the allegations be found to be true‚ the guilty parties should face the full wrath of the law,” he said.

The Public Protector has since directed Finance minister Malusi Gigaba, to request President Jacob Zuma to order the corruption-busting Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe the alleged unlawful expenditure of public money.

Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95 on December 5, 2013, after battling a recurring lung infection, opening floodgates for officials to misuse the infrastructure development grant.

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