DA dismayed at funding of 'rogue' states

The Democratic Alliance says it is dismayed by information presented to Parliament’s international relations portfolio committee showing South Africa has provided millions to “rogue” African states.

The information provided by international relations and cooperation department director of Nepad, Harvey Short, showed more than R770-million of South African state funds had been used to prop up rogue states, and countries that had a history of human rights abuses or non-democratically elected governments, over the past three years, and under the auspices of the African Renaissance Fund (ARF).

DA spokesperson Kenneth Mubu said on Thursday a total of R600-million in economic assistance had been provided to Zimbabwe’s government under the ARF, even though the committee heard that South Africa did not track how the funding was spent.

A total of R300-million was transferred in 2009 as part of an economic recovery programme, a portion of it in the form of emergency food aid.

However, during Wednesday’s committee meeting, when he asked whether the department had monitored and evaluated how the funds had been used, the response was that they had not.

No planning mechanism
“Parliament has seen no evidence that any of this money was spent on those programmes to which it had been designated,” Mubu said.

The documentation provided “admits” government did not have a proactive planning mechanism, nor were monitoring and evaluation in
place.

A total of R172-million had been handed over to Guinea Conakry, beginning in 2008, the same year in which the country underwent a military coup that saw a military junta led by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara.

“Disturbingly, the ARF continued to fund two more projects in Guinea in 2009 while it was under the rule of Camara, only suspending a third due to political instability,” he said.

In that same year the junta declared demonstrations illegal a day before a planned public demonstration in its capital Conakry.

However, according to media reports at the time, thousands of demonstrators defied this ban and assembled in a soccer stadium.

The junta ordered its soldiers to respond, and 157 people were left dead in the ensuing violence.

“Again, officials indicated they have no way of knowing where this money was spent, and how much of it, if any, actually went towards the causes earmarked.”

The ARF had, since 2004, allocated over R1,2-billion to fund projects in over 17 African countries.

The purpose of the fund and its stated guiding principles were described to include the promotion of democracy and good governance, socioeconomic development and integration, and the prevention and resolution of conflict.

“Clearly these laudable objectives have been usurped by the department of international relations’ utter inability to oversee the implementation of the ARF, and the accountable distribution of funds.

“We have no direct evidence that funds have been misappropriated, but we have no evidence either that funds were spent on the appropriate projects, and instead evidence that no monitoring of the use of the funds is in place.

“In the absence of proof to the contrary, it is very difficult to believe that these funds have gone where they should have,” Mubu said.

The minister needed to get funding allocations at the ARF under control. - Sapa

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