The Public Protector has given everyone who scored from a dodgy R39m Nelson Mandela memorial service a pass. A Mail & Guardian report says Busisiwe Mkhwebane has found that the DG who approved the irregular payments should be held solely accountable.

Of the R39m awarded to Carol Bouwer Productions for the event, R18m went to former President Jacob Zuma’s benefactor, Mabheleni Ntuli, who then paid some of that money into the bank account of one of Zuma’s wives, Nompumelelo ‘MaNtuli’ Ntuli-Zuma.

Mkhwebane’s report on Carol Bouwer Productions from earlier this month found that the allegations that the Mpumalanga government had, in December 2013, irregularly appointed the television production company as the main contractor to organise Mandela’s memorial services were substantiated.

But Mkhwebane ordered that only Mpumalanga’s former DG, Nonhlanhla Mkhize – now KZN’s DG – must face the music, and that the KZN Premier, Sihle Zikalala, take appropriate steps.

Mkhwebane’s finding also seems to overlook a 2014 Treasury report, which came after an investigation into the contract and recommended that the police should investigate the transactions between Bouwer and Ntuli, who was alleged to have been a sub-contractor to Bouwer’s company.

The M&G report notes the Treasury money trail shows that Bouwer paid out four tranches of R4.5m into the bank account of Dartingo Trading 20, a company solely owned by Ntuli.

In her report, Mkhwebane did note that: ‘Ms Bouwer also stated that all invoices were certified before payments were processed and added that this was done by someone from the Department of Finance in Mpumalanga, who was located at the site. However, the name of the official was not provided. There was also someone tasked with verifying deliveries for catering, whose name was also not provided.

Despite Bouwer being unable to provide these names and there being no evidence of the recording of the memorial events, Mkhwebane still made no finding against Bouwer, notes the report.

Full Mail & Guardian report

Report No. 19 of 2019/20 on an investigation into allegations of maladministration by the Mpumalanga Office of the Premier for services rendered during the Mandela Memorial Service