Questions over how BCM Sports Club spent millions

Image: BCM/File

Buffalo City Metro sports players are up in arms over the expenditure of millions of rands by the BCM Sports Club after details surfaced about how close to R4m of ratepayers’ money was spent.

An expenditure document leaked to the Daily Dispatch showed how R3.9m was spent by the club between August and September.

Disgruntled players have questioned how the BCM spent R830,535 to buy 600 golf shirts and tracksuits that were never delivered to them.

This comes after the BCM council approved R5m to the club to cover the cost of going to the 2019 Southern African Inter-Municipal Sport Association (Saimsa) games in  Zambia in September.

Players did not attend the games after mayor Xola Pakati and city manager Andile Sihlahla advised against the trip over fears of xenophobia.

Instead officials and a few councillors travelled to Durban to take part in the SA Municipal Sports and Recreation Association (Samsra) games. Many did not take part and were recalled before the end of the trip in September.

BCM said at the time that there were issues about registering some players.

BCM spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya lambasted Dispatch sources and accused them of manufacturing information and leaking to the Dispatch the expenditures on the budget vote of the club “to serve their narrow selfish interest at the expense of the institution”.

“The Buffalo City Sports Club reports and accounts to council and its oversight structures and therefore it is ill advised to publicly detail expenditure of its operational budget during the course of the financial year, especially when books have not even been closed and relevant oversight structures have not been given a report. We cannot fall into the trap of running daily operations of the municipality via a newspaper,” Ngwenya added.

The document showed that on September 3, 180 white golf shirts were procured with 180 tracksuits.

However angry sports players said they never received the tracksuits and shirts, which cost the city R503,721. The money was paid to Makinwa Media Solutions.

The document showed that on September 27, payment was made to the same company to deliver 120 white golf shirts and 120 tracksuits at a cost of R335,813.

Despite the two payments made, officials and councillors did not receive the items.

Officials who asked to remain anonymous said: “We know for a fact that the payments were made but we don’t know where the clothes are.

“We were promised them but it has been more than one month now since the Durban trip and we have not received anything." During the year we actually had more money in our coffers. Things went terribly bad and every time we called the executive they did not come to listen to our grievances.”

Another said: “They say they spent R1.1m on accommodation, shuttles and meals from September 21 to 28 but many of us came back on the 26th and some of us did not even have accommodation when we got there. We had to share rooms and were eventually told to vacate our rooms on the 26th.

“Those that did not have rooms did not get food vouchers to cover lunch and supper expenses.

“Some paid for their own accommodation and food while we had to share with those that did not have money to buy food. Who did they spend the R1.1m on?

“Where are these clothing items they say they have paid for on our behalf?”

After the disastrous trip, players said they had decided to remove the executive led by chair Luthando Sicam and replace it with a task team two weeks ago.

When contacted for comment Sicam admitted that players had not received the branded clothing.

He laughed when asked who had received the items.

“People who want T-shirts and tracksuits must contact their team managers. We are still waiting for them to request the items.

“No-one has received the items according to my knowledge. I don’t know if the money has been paid or not,” he said.

However an ANC councillor, who is a member of the club but who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation, said: “We usually receive our branded clothing before the games, when we go to the games we have to be branded as there are parades done.

“All these years it has been like that. It’s not true that people have to request the items. If one did not go to the games, one was guaranteed to get the items after the games. Sicam is lying. No-one received these items.”

Sicam said: “We have not been removed. The people you are telling me about are not even members of the club, they are lying.

“They are power hungry. Everyone wants to lead now ever since we got the additional R5m to our budget.

“You don’t just remove leadership, people are removed at an annual general meeting.”

mamelan@dispatch.co.za


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