Youth festival rife with corruption
Johannesburg - The taxpayer had to cough up more than R6m for a jet to fly 262 members of the Cuban Communist Youth League and their translators to South Africa for the National Youth Development Agency (Nyda)'s failed youth festival in December last year.
Shocking figures came to light after Media24's research team revealed that Nyda gave fat contracts to ANC-minded businessmen and wasted millions with its hosting of the World Youth Festival.
Nyda's extravagance is evident from the hundreds of documents that the Media24 research team obtained under the Act on Promotion of Information.
Forensic auditor Andre Prakke said proper bookkeeping did not take place and widespread fraud and theft was likely committed.
He said proper tender processes were not followed and very few of the contractors submitted tax clearance certificates as required.
The festival cost R106m. This is being investigated by the public protector.
Among the documents that Media24's research team obtained, is the agreement that was signed in November last year by Nyda CEO Steven Ngubeni and Cubana, Cuba's national airline.
Nyda paid R5.6m to hire a 260-seater Ilyushin aircraft to transport members of Cuba's Communist Youth League to South Africa and back. Nyda further signed a contract to let 42 Cuban translators fly with them at an additional cost of R440 000. The hiring of translation equipment for the festival cost several millions.
The opening and closing ceremonies at the festival cost R9m - and was awarded to businessman Julius Mekwa, who openly supports ANC youth leader Julius Malema.
A Springs police officer received a contract of more than R20m to provide food and drinks. More than R6m was paid in advance to him.
Several millions were spent on flags, banners, military caps, raincoats, balloons, confetti and female models.
Ngubeni conceded that "proper procedures" were not always followed, but said that Nyda can defend the expense of R106m.