Home News R1.6m to host youth chamber conference

R1.6m to host youth chamber conference

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Marketing and promotional material for banners, pamphlets, posters and USB sticks amounted to R420 000 although delegates stated that none were visible

Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)

THE DEPARTMENT of Economic Development and Tourism has confirmed that the cost of holding the Northern Cape Youth Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCYCCI) provincial conference amounted to R1.6 million.

Whistle-blowers had reported that R1.8 million was splurged on the provincial conference that took place at the Frances Baard District Municipality in July, where a company belonging to a member of the Frances Baard Youth Chamber of Commerce and Industry was apparently hired to assist in arranging the event.

Among the items charged to the account of the department include R270 000 for a Kombi, fuel for the duration of 30 days, wash and valet and R295 850 for delegates package including caps, jackets, beanies, scarves, notebooks and pens that were apparently never handed out.

Marketing and promotional material for banners, pamphlets, posters and USB sticks amounted to R420 000 although delegates stated that none were visible.

Media and digital communication material amounting to
R242 099 was charged to the department, while six laptops, six printers and another five laptops for regional secretaries as well as one of the provincial secretaries amounted to R110 000.

The whistle-blowers stated that the cost of accommodation and meals for the delegates was inflated, where expenses were claimed for 250 delegates at a cost of R465 000 while less than 50 people, including guests, attended the conference.

The senior communications manager for the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Thandiwe Modibela, admitted that no tender was advertised for the conference.

“According to reports received, the only items that were not delivered were the delegate packages and the promotional material. The reason given is because of being short on resources at the time of the regional conferences. A commitment has been given that these will be delivered at the next programme.”

Modibela indicated that the total cost of hosting the conference, including the accommodation and transport of delegates, delegate packages, marketing and promotional materials and advertising amounted to R 1.6 million.

She added that four regional conferences and one provincial conference were held, while the conference in Namakwa did not take place as they did not form a quorum in line with the conference guidelines.

“There were 54 attendees in Frances Baard, 52 in ZF Mgcawu, 38 in Pixley ka Seme and 52 attendees in the John Taolo Gaetsewe district. A total of 52 provincial and regional representatives and guests also attended.”

In reply to reports that the head of the department (HOD) of Economic Development and Tourism was prevented from entering the premises of the provincial conference, Modibela said that the acting HOD was not present at the conference.

She added that while the expenditure of the funds was not under investigation, a report had been received where the monitoring and evaluation unit would confirm the information.

Modibela was not aware of any official from the department or the NCYCCI who had unduly benefited from money that had been paid out in an irregular fashion.