Gayton McKenzie still on the hunt for irregularities in Covid-19 payments

Sports Minister Gayton McKenzie on Thursday said he would continue his campaign to find out which payments were made incorrectly from the list of COVID-19 beneficiaries by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture for 2020/2021.

The new minister saw to the publication on Wednesday of the list with 3,962 beneficiaries – supposedly stakeholders in the sports, arts, TV, film, and creative sectors, with a total payout of over R72 million.

The exact amount paid out was a whopping R72,036,097.14 with payments ranging between R2000 and R75,000.

The once off payments were meant to help the beneficiaries – be they sports stars, actors, filmmakers or any associated function to the relevant sector – as the government imposed strict lockdown conditions, shutting down the events, TV productions, and sports.

McKenzie has stressed that he was revealing the lists for the sake of transparency, and that the Covid-19 list in particular was not a shame list. But he has also said he wanted to dispel the notion that the government did not support artists.

“We will not be deterred, this is not your money, this is not my money, this is public money and the public must know who got money from them. (DSAC) @SportArtsCultur must show that they were there for artist during the worst times and also expose those that misused the opportunity,” said McKenzie in a tweet on Thursday morning.

However, McKenzie has also said the publication of the lists, with more lists promised on Thursday and Friday, he was intent on weeding out any hints of corruption or nepotism.

‘Wait & see’

“We already have people who came forward that didn’t receive money nor applied but are listed as having received,” said McKenzie on X, formerly Twitter, on Thursday.

“We have people not aligned to the arts who received money, we saw people who are not from SA benefitting. Wait & see after all lists has been released today & tomorrow.”

Interestingly, the Patriotic Alliance leader McKenzie has not made any reference to the sports people on the list who received payments. At a glance, it seems the vast majority of payments were paid to non-sports people.

The publication revealed the eight people who got the R75,000 payments, were largely in the entertainment and filmmaking sector.

Socialite Mohale Motaung was one of those, seemingly awarded the maximum R75,000 for his make-up styling and dress-making business, which was targeted at matric pupils.

Whether Motaung truly qualified to benefit from the pool of money remains questionable, but equally, the DSAC nor McKenzie, has not explained what criteria it used to determine if individuals should be awarded R2,000; R5,000; R10,000; R20,000; R53,000 or R75,000.

One of South Africa’s best prospects of a medal at the Paris Olympics, 100 metre sprinter Akani Simbine received just a single payment of R20,000.

Some of the other SA sports people to receive payments of R20,000 are:

– Kevin Lerena (boxing),

– Jake Roos (golf)

– Jaco Ahlers (golf)

– Thando Roto (athletics)

– Lyle Rowe (golf), Ruan de Vries (athletics)

– Ruswahl Samaai (athletics)

– Stacy Lee Bregman (golf)

– Merrick Bremner (golf)

– Bridgitte Hartley (canoeing)

– Ashleigh Buhai (golf).

That appears to be 11 out 3,962.

-IOL Sport

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