'Free' Cup tickets cost R25 200

Ten department of science and technology employees were rewarded with “free” tickets to the World Cup quarterfinals in Port Elizabeth last Friday.

The tickets, worth R25 200, were an incentive for doing well in a leadership development programme, according to director general Phil Mjwara. He said Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s ban on government departments purchasing World Cup tickets did not apply.

The leadership course is run by USB Executive Development, a public company linked to the University of Stellenbosch’s business school.

Godfrey Mashamba, director of socioeconomic partnerships in the department, was chosen as the best student. Although Mashamba was given a ticket to the game, he had to pay for his own flights, Mjwara said.

Another department staffer who scored a football ticket was Cordelia Sita, in charge of the department’s efforts to wean South Africa off coal and imported oil and use hydrogen fuel cells instead.

Mlungisi Cele, formerly at the Centre for Research in Science and Technology at the University of Stellenbosch, and Lisa du Toit, who manages development partnerships, are listed in the Research Africa newsletter as among the other staffers who received tickets.

Mjwara received a ticket for the Bafana Bafana/Uruguay game in Pretoria from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s defence unit, but the CSIR claims that the money came from private sources and not government funding.

Forty seats were bought by this unit, at a price tag of more than R330 000. The DA’s Marian Shinn will be following up on the matter.

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