Calls for probe into youth festival funding

The Democratic Alliance (DA) wants the Auditor General to investigate the National Lottery’s allocation of R40-million to the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), opposition Member of Parliament Athol Trollip said in a statement on Wednesday.

Section 5(1) of the Public Audit Act makes provision for the AG to carry out “an appropriate investigation or special audit” of any public institution when he considers this to be “in the public interest or upon the receipt of a complaint or request”.

Trollip said the party would not “stand idly by” while public money was being “squandered” on a “totalitarian talk shop”.

A total of R69-million had been budgeted for the event, organised by the National Youth Development Agency.

The DA wanted to know whether it was “fair and equitable” for the Lotto to allocate an amount “greater than the entire annual budget for the Cotlands orphanage” for the festival.

Lottery funds were meant to contribute to projects of national importance, and the festival allocation was a “national embarrassment”, Trollip said.

According to a programme distributed at the start of the event on Monday, African National Congress (ANC) veteran Winnie Madikizela Mandela, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale and Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu were due to address thousands of young people from over 100 countries at various sessions on Wednesday.

Organisers then said none of the speakers had confirmed their attendance and would not be present.

Cosatu wants probe too
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) also demanded a full audit on Wednesday on how the National Lotteries Board’s (NLB) R40 million was spent by the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).

“While Cosatu hopes that the organisation of the festival will improve over the rest of the week, we demand that there be a full audit of how the people’s money from the NLB and the government was spent,” Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said in a statement.

The federation “deplores the reported shambles” at the festival, he said.

“Cosatu understands that speakers were not confirmed and did not arrive, seven out of yesterday’s 18 seminars were cancelled and visitors complained of bad food, a lack of transport and poor coordination of accommodation arrangements.

“What particularly angers the federation is that R40-million has been donated to the festival organisers by the NLB,” Craven said.

Cosatu demanded a full audit of how the money was spent.– Sapa

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