In a statement on Thursday, the DA’s Dr Roy Jankielsohn posed questions about how the “Free State provincial government is eating the department of agriculture and rural development’s livestock”.
He said a reply to a question in the Free State legislature from the MEC for agriculture and rural development, William Bulwane, indicated that 178 cattle to the value of R815,200 had been donated for catering at various government events, farewell functions for MECs, the funerals of needy families and church events between 1 January 2009 and 31 March 2019.
The DA then wanted further details to determine the criteria for such donations, which could be “easily abused for political purposes, nepotism and patronage”.
They received a response and republished it here.
“The Free State has daily funerals of needy families and many church activities who require assistance for catering of events such as funerals. In the absence of clear criteria and guidelines for donations, the system is open for abuse,” said Jankielsohn.
“Livestock in the possession of the department of agriculture are not meant for welfare or cost-cutting purposes during catering at events for premiers and other government departments. The department is not a welfare institution and cattle in their possession should be used for research and other agricultural activities that benefit the agricultural sector.”
He said some of the beneficiaries had been members of the provincial legislature and even municipal councillors.
“One such donation on 22 June 2016 was for the ‘funeral of late Ms Lucy Mapena, Member of the Provincial Legislature, DARD’s contribution.’”
However, Jankielsohn said that the same Lucy Mapena was the current deputy speaker of the legislature and “appears to be alive and well”.
“The DA will continue to probe the various donations to determine the legality of the alienation of government assets that are literally being eaten.”
(Edited by Charles Cilliers)