Former National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) head Andile Lungisa and three others appeared in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Monday on charges of fraud and money laundering.
Lungisa, his wife Ursula Sali, Thabo Shogolo, and Xolisile Guquza are due to be back in court on July 8, after the matter was postponed due to defence lawyer Thabo Kwinana not being present.
Prosecutor Ronel Dookun and Lungisa, along with his co-accused, were mystified as to Kwinana’s absence, as neither could reach him on Monday morning.
“The state is in the dark as to how to proceed with this matter further,” Dookun said. “[The state] has no reason as to his [Kwinana’s] absence today.”
On their last appearance on April 17, which also led to a postponement, Kwinana said he had only the charge sheet and needed further particulars to answer to the case with clarity.
On Monday, Dookun told the court Kwinana had not contacted the state at all in relation to this request since April 17.
The four are accused of accepting and sharing among themselves R2.5-million paid by the arts and culture department for the Nelson Mandela Sports Day concert.
They allegedly promised that US singer R Kelly would perform at the concert but he did not.
Previously, Lungisa and Shogolo were granted bail of R10 000 each, Guquza was granted R5 000 bail, and Sali was released on a warning.
They were arrested in October after handing themselves over to the Hawks.
‘We will get our money back’
At the time of the concert, the department said it entered into negotiations with the promoter of the R&B singer’s recent tour to South Africa.
It was subsequently announced that the star was on the bill for the music concert that would follow the day’s sporting events.
But it was discovered that R Kelly’s management had been unaware of the agreement, and he had departed the country as planned.
Meanwhile, the arts and culture department said on last year that it would get back its money paid for R Kelly to perform.
“We will get our money back,” arts and culture department spokesperson Mack Lewele said at the time.
Getting rich quickly
Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula last year said a few individuals, who he did not name, wanted to get rich “in a split of a second” by lying to the department.
“This was a scheme by people who wanted to get rich quickly,” he told reporters during a briefing at FNB Stadium about the inaugural Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day.
“I do not think R Kelly would have shunned performing for Madiba … but he will not be here. The show will continue with the rest of the line-up.”
In December 2010 the NYDA organised the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students. The R106-million event was marred by promised events that did not happen.
Later it transpired that artists were billed for the festival but had not even been approached to perform, just as ministers who were billed as speakers. Amounts totalling R250 000 were spent on party supplies like balloons and confetti but there was a shortage of food.
Nevertheless then-chairperson Lungisa spoke of “a resounding success”. – Additional reporting by Staff Reporter