Proper procedure followed in Lotto grant, says minister

The head of the Jazz Foundation of South Africa, which has been paid out more than R15-million in Lotto grants, is also a member of the government agency that considers such funding applications.

In a written response to a parliamentary question, posed by the Democratic Alliance (DA), Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies confirmed that Arts, Culture and National Heritage Distributing Agency member Leabua “Oupa” Salemane was also chief executive of the foundation.

The DA on Wednesday called for an investigation into the matter.
 
In his reply, however, Davies said “proper governance controls” were applied in the decision to grant the Jazz Foundation a total of R15,33-million, which was paid out in five separate amounts in response to five separate grant applications.

“The National Lottery Distributing Trust Fund [NLDTF] is a fund that is administered by the National Lotteries Board and as such, no member of the Jazz Foundation has any links with the NLDTF.

“However, Mr Leabua [Oupa] Salemane, a member of the Arts, Culture and National Heritage Distributing Agency, is also the CEO of the Jazz Foundation of SA.

“Although the [agency] is responsible for adjudicating applications in this area, the Department of Trade and Industry has been advised that proper governance controls were applied in that Mr Salemane was not part of the decision-making process relating to the grants to the Jazz Foundation,” he said.

In a statement, DA social development spokesperson Patricia Kopane said her party would be asking questions about the grants.

“When there are so many deserving NGOs desperately needing funding from the Lotto, there is no space for cronyism.

“The DA will be asking more specific questions about this grant and the circumstances surrounding it, and if no action is taken we will consider laying charges against Mr Salemane in terms of the Public Service Act ourselves,” she said.

The Act required that no employee should perform remunerative work outside his or her employment, except with the written permission of the department.

“The reply we received makes no reference to written permission for Mr Salemane’s dual role having been obtained. If such permission has been granted, it should never have been done—there is a clear conflict of interest here—and should be grounds for another investigation,” she said.—Sapa

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