‘The maths is not adding up’ — Maimane questions Natasha Thahane over R350k government funding claims

Mmusi Maimane says Natasha Thahane's story does not add up and that she should produce receipts to back it up.
Mmusi Maimane says Natasha Thahane's story does not add up and that she should produce receipts to back it up.
Image: Alon Skuy

One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane has questioned actress Natasha Thahane's statement that she received R350,000 in funding from the government to study abroad.

The actress this week denied receiving R1m after making a call to former parliament speaker Baleka Mbete in 2017.

This comes after her interview on Podcast and Chill with MacG went viral, causing an uproar on social media.

The actress, who is the granddaughter of Desmond Tutu, said the department of sport, arts and culture approved her funding application for R350,000. 

“I did not receive R1m from Mam Baleka Mbethe or the department of sport, arts and culture,” she said in a video statement

She also apologised to Baleka and the department for alluding to having a personal relationship with them and claimed that her words were taken out of context.

However, Maimane said the Blood & Water actress's statement had more holes than answers. 

He said the story did not add up and Natasha should produce receipts to back it up. 

“The maths is not adding up. The story is not balancing. In other words, we need to see the receipts. 

“Gaining funds from government agencies via connections and the back door is a serious issue. The causal nexus of talking to powerful politicians and receiving state funds persists,” he said.

In a lengthy post earlier this week, Maimane said a “conversation with the nation” was needed about Natasha's academic funding. 

“Funding for education must come through the proper channels and must be allocated according to need. Our government is not doing enough for students and this must change,” he said. 

“Education is one of the main ways to get families out of economic adversity and on a path to wealth building. We need to make sure our limited funds are used in the best way possible to maximise the nation's return on investment and to address national skills needs.”

Mmusi said the matter should be used to highlight the pressing challenges affecting many students in the higher education system, and both Natasha and sport, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa owe the public an explanation. 

“I hope you can have a conversation with the nation about this academic funding. How much it was, how it was processed and your reflections on your personal use of networks to access state support. I think you do owe the public that much, Natasha,” he said. 

“Mr condolences Nathi Mthethwa, we also need clarity from your office about the disbursement of these funds.”

Requests for comment from the department of sport, arts and culture were not answered by the time of publishing this article. Any update will be included once received.


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