Gauteng MEC flouting World Cup ticket directive - DA

Tim Harris says Kgaogelo Lekgoro has allowed mayors and municipal managers to go to matches

World Cup tickets: DA calls on Finance Minister to bring Gauteng MEC into line

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan needs to urgently bring Gauteng MEC for Local Government Kgaogelo Lekgoro into line with his directive on municipal purchases of World Cup tickets.

Despite a National Treasury circular to municipalities that makes it clear that spending municipal funds on tickets constitutes irregular, wasteful and fruitless expenditure in terms of legislation, the MEC has issued his own circular to Gauteng municipalities with instructions on how to circumvent the Finance Minister's instruction that municipalities should not buy World Cup tickets.

Minister Gordhan must now urgently intervene to prevent Mr. Lekgoro from openly flouting his directive.

Mr Lekgoro states in his correspondence that municipalities ought to be purchasing tickets for mayors and municipal managers, and should be justifying this on the basis that attendance at these games could be deemed a "marketing strategy for purposes of promoting the work of the municipality."

He goes on to say that: "It is recommended... that all Gauteng chosen representatives attend the opening and closing matches" and that "travel to other provinces has to be justified on the partnership building basis."

MEC Lekgoro also says that municipalities "identify and target those matches in which there will be value add for the municipality in terms of marketing".

A copy of MEC Lekgoro's memo is available from the DA Media Centre.

In a letter to me, dated 7 June - in response to concerns I raised over suggestions that the moratorium on ticket purchases may be lifted - Minister Gordhan confirmed that purchases of tickets would constitute financial misconduct and irregular expenditure in terms of the Public Finance Management Act as well as certain provisions in the Code of Conduct for Public Servants.

A copy of the minister's letter is available upon request.

If municipalities spend state funds on tickets it will be a slap in the face of the many thousands of South Africans who have not been able to get World Cup tickets, or who cannot afford them.

It will also be an insult to every South African who is told that Gauteng municipalities do not have the funds to deliver them basic services.

My colleague in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature Fred Nel MPL will be posing questions to MEC Lekgoro regarding his conduct right away.

Statement issued by Tim Harris, MP, Democratic Alliance member of the select committee on finance, June 9 2010

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