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Flagged company owned by socialites gets contract for Andrew Mlangeni funeral

ANC stalwart Andrew Mlangeni. File photo.
ANC stalwart Andrew Mlangeni. File photo.
Image: City of Joburg

Crocia Events, flagged during an investigation for potentially receiving “duplicate payments” for the funerals of three ANC struggle stalwarts, has secured a contract for the funeral of Andrew Mlangeni.

Mlangeni, who turned 95 in June, died last week after a short illness. He will be buried in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said he would receive a special official funeral category 1 as a mark of respect.

Crocia Events, owned by socialites Sammy Mashita and wife Pheladi Mphahlele — who in December 2018 married in a three-day society wedding at which US R&B star Anthony Hamilton performed — was appointed by the DPWI on Monday for Mlangeni’s funeral.

Mashita confirmed to TimesLIVE that his company has been appointed. “We can confirm the appointment of Crocia for Tata Mlangeni’s funeral. The rest you must refer to DPWI [the department of public works and infrastructure],” he said.

He declined to say how much the department would be charged.

“The department has all the information and has been sharing freely with the media, including cost,” he said.

Documents seen by TimesLIVE show that Crocia was contracted to provide:

  • flowers for a 10mx15m stage;
  • five indoor air conditioners;
  • black-grey carpet tiles to cover 20mx25m of floor;
  • a sound system with 10 cordless microphones and stands;
  • a 10mx10m marquee;
  • 50 banquet chairs;
  • engineering certificates;
  • a sound technician certificate of compliance for electricity;
  • an air-conditioner technician; and
  • a structural certificate.

ANC veteran Mlangeni joined the ANC Youth League in 1951 and the ANC in 1954, according to his foundation. In 1961 he was among the first to be sent for military training outside the country — in China.

On his return in 1963, he was arrested, found guilty of sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Mlangeni was released in 1989, when negotiations between the ANC and the government began. He subsequently spent 20 years in parliament and led the ANC's integrity commission.

He was awarded Isithwalandwe/Seaparankwe in 1992, the highest honour by the ANC for those who made an outstanding contribution to the liberation struggle. He also received the Presidential Order for Meritorious Service: Class 1: Gold from President Nelson Mandela in 1999.

The department previously paid Crocia R76m for three funerals in 2018:

  • R35.7m for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's funeral;
  • R28.9m for the funeral of Dr Zola Skweyiya; and
  • R11.4m for the funeral of Billy Modise.

A 2019 investigative report by PwC into the funerals found that there was no evidence of tests carried out by the department to verify that items charged for were delivered for these funerals.

“In addition, Crocia did not provide delivery notes for items delivered. We noted duplications of certain line items, which at this stage may indicate duplicate payments in respect of these items. We have requested, but have to date not been provided, clarification by the [department] in this regard,” the report found.

Now the PwC report is being used by minister Patricia de Lille to discipline her director-general Sam Vukela.

Crocia spokesperson Elsabe Booyens told TimesLIVE they had lodged an urgent application at the high court in Pretoria to compel the minister and the department to give Crocia access to all reports and material related to this, including the PwC report and a report by the auditor-general.

Booyens was requested to provide TimesLIVE with copies of the legal documents but did not.

Department spokesperson Lunga Mahlangu and De Lille spokesperson Zara Nicholson were not immediately available.

© TimesLIVE