/ 24 May 2012

Mokonyane awaits Mmemezi explanation on alleged misuse of funds

Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane during a press conference  in Johannesburg.
Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane during a press conference in Johannesburg.

“She has noted numerous media reports pertaining to the MEC Mmemezi. These include damage to a government vehicle and the alleged misuse of a government credit card,” the premier’s spokesperson Xoli Mngambi said.

Mokonyane had asked Mmemezi to react to the allegations.

“Further communication on the matter will be pronounced upon completion of the processes mentioned,” Mngambi said.

On receiving Mmemezi’s response, Mokonyane would “apply her mind” and make a formal decision.

“It is important that we retain the significance of the legislative framework to bring about integrity when dealing with such matters,” said Mngambi.

He could not say whether Mmemezi had been given a deadline.

Demanding a response
The Congress of South African Trade Unions demanded a response from Local Government Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

It also wanted a “full, thorough and independent” investigation into the allegations.

“We want the public to be told whether or not they are true, and if proved true, for disciplinary and/or legal action to be taken against him,” spokesperson Patrick Craven said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the Democratic Alliance called for Mmemezi to be fired after media reports claimed he had misused government funds during a trip to India.

“His contemptuous behaviour should not be allowed to continue. A full investigation is needed so that he is held to account for all misspending and contravention of rules,” said the DA’s Jack Bloom.

“Mokonyane must put aside internal ANC politics and fire him in the interests of good governance.”

According to the Starnewspaper, Mmemezi charged clothes to the value of R22 839 to the government credit card, which had a limit of R50 000, on September 25, during a visit to India.

‘Party wear’
He reportedly charged another R31 000 for “party wear” and suits in on September 30, followed by amounts of R4 900 and R4 500 for clothing at other shops in India.

The newspaper reported that Mmemezi had used the credit card to indulge himself and others at restaurants across South Africa before leaving for India.

Mmemezi also reportedly used the credit card to purchase an art work worth R10 000 from fast food outlet McDonalds. He allegedly disguised the transaction as a purchase of hamburgers.

The DA previously called for Mmemezi to be sacked for misleading the Gauteng Legislature about damage to his official vehicle during an accident.

DA member of the Legislature Fred Nel said the BMW X5 transporting Mmemezi when it hit West Rand teenager Thomas Ferreira, knocking him off his motorbike, was reportedly being auctioned off.

Officials from Mmemezi’s department had claimed the vehicle was not in mechanical running order and that this would affect its price at auction.

According to Nel, Mmemezi had said the car was in good condition, except for the left rear door, and that it appeared that the vehicle had sustained far more damage than Mmemezi had revealed.

According to Bloom, Mmemezi had delayed responding to questions from the DA and would face more questions in the Gauteng Legislature on Tuesday. – Sapa