The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) allegedly spent R250 000 on party supplies for the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students in December last year, according to Sunday reports.
The NYDA spent R100 000 on balloons, R60 000 on confetti and R90 000 on a headstone, City Press reported, citing invoices, contracts and other documents obtained using access to information legislation.
The agency’s chief executive, Steve Ngubeni — a former deputy secretary-general of the ANC Youth League — conceded in an interview with the newspaper this week that proper procedures were not followed in all cases but defended the agency’s conduct in spending R106-million on the festival.
The newspaper reported a company owned by ‘kwaito king” Arthur Mafokate was paid R5.3-million for providing entertainment, including balloons and confetti.
A company owned by Mafikizolo band manager Julius Mekwa received a contract worth almost R9-million for managing the opening and closing ceremonies.
Bitline SA, a company owned by ANC Youth League President Julius Malema’s business associate Ali Boshielo, received more than R1-million for providing bags, t-shirts and other paraphernalia.
A company owned by a Springs police officer won a R21.7-million tender to provide catering. A payment of R6.5-million was made upfront before the tender was cancelled, City Press reported.
The festival, which was attended by thousands of young people from across the world, was derided as an organisational catastrophe as speakers failed to attend, seminars were cancelled and logistical problems snowballed.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on the festival is outstanding.
Those who received the contracts either defended them as having been won fairly or ignored requests to comment.
The NYDA received an unqualified audit report for its latest financial results despite a year of negative publicity, Ngubeni said on Thursday.
“Despite the mostly negative criticism, the NYDA once again for the last financial year attained an unqualified audit opinion — clean opinion — from an independent audit by the Auditor General of South Africa,” he told reporters in Midrand.
He said the AG had highlighted some problematic areas in the NYDA’s finances but these had not affected his clean audit opinion. — Sapa