THE Black Caucus has urged the ANC to giver priority to black businesses as the government plans a series of memorial services and the official funeral of struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. The late struggle stalwart had been accorded a special official funeral by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
While the budget had not been released it is believed that the funeral arrangements were going to cost well into the millions. Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has written to provinces and municipalities to provide them with guidelines for funeral arrangements for the funeral. On behalf of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on state and official Funerals, Mkhize was tasked with ensuring the coordination of funeral arrangements with provincial and local government.
The minister said provinces and municipalities, as well as a wide range of public, faith-based non-governmental and civil society institutions, had signalled their intentions of hosting memorial events.
“As an IMC, strong lessons have been learnt from previous State and Official funerals. Amongst these has been the need to balance understandable grief and the need for urgent action, with the requirement of strict adherence to the rules and regulations of financial management policies.
“It is the worst disservice democratically elected leaders can offer icons such as mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, to shroud her legacy with any act of impropriety either by omission or design,” Mkhize said.
The following guidelines must be adhered to: The declaration of the national funeral category and mourning period by the President of the republic does not constitute grounds upon which other spheres of government can decide to host memorial events of their own. It is incumbent upon provincial executive council and municipal councils to formally resolve and declare their own memorial or commemorative event, should the authority so wish to do.
This resolution must be accompanied by a clearly defined decision of the financial resources assigned to this event and voted for by the relevant authority. Any allocation of resources from provincial and local governments for memorial events should therefore be done with frugality and mindful of the country’s limited resources.
Any need for procurement for events should be done in strict compliance with the Municipal Finance Management Act, Act 56 of 2003 (MFMA) and Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), which are key drivers of financial reforms in the sphere of local government, and relevant supply chain management policies. It must be remembered that where such issues are urgent, due processes and procedures to follow in such situations are contained in the law and in policy.
It must be observed that one of the five underlying principles of the MFMA and PFMA is promoting sound financial governance by clarifying specific roles. “I urge the municipal councils, as the highest authority in the municipality, to continue exercising oversight and ensure approval of spending guided by the MFMA,” Mkhize said.