Hawks spokesper­son in R3m fund­ing row

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THE LIFE of the Hawks spokesper­son, Hang­wani Mu­laudzi, has been turned up­side down af­ter his foun­da­tion scored a R3 mil­lion grant from the Na­tional Lot­ter­ies Com­mis­sion (NLC).

The com­mis­sion and Mu­laudzi have been the sub­ject of a back­lash recently, with many ques­tion­ing the com­mis­sion’s re­la­tion­ship with Mu­laudzi as the Hawks are cur­rently in­ves­ti­gat­ing some of NLC’s grants.

The Hang­wani Mu­laudzi Foun­da­tion, an no-profit mak­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion based in Lim­popo, pock­eted R3m from the com­mis­sion to es­tab­lish a sports cen­tre for the com­mu­nity of Mashamba in July last year.

The cen­tre would cater to more than 100 chil­dren and would have features such as a block of toi­lets, an office and a change-room fa­cil­ity. It will also be fit­ted with a bore­hole with run­ning taps, and fenc­ing.

The Star un­der­stands that the Covid19 pan­demic has since de­railed the work in get­ting the fa­cil­i­ties ready.

A frus­trated Mu­laudzi said po­lit­i­cal lead­ers have put his life in dan­ger with their agen­das.

“I don’t know what kind of mes­sage they are try­ing to send out. I have to ob­serve count­less times now when I’m driv­ing or walk­ing be­cause peo­ple think I carry case dock­ets and there is noth­ing like that.”

Mu­laudzi went on to clar­ify that he does not deal di­rectly with in­ves­ti­ga­tions at the Hawks.

“I don’t have that au­thor­ity at Hawks. I don’t in­flu­ence any in­ves­ti­ga­tions. I just com­mu­ni­cate in­for­ma­tion that is given to me.”

The spokesper­son said he is not the sole di­rec­tor of the foun­da­tion.

“It’s not my foun­da­tion only. It’s an NPO and there are oth­ers who have part­nered with me in run­ning this foun­da­tion,” he said.

Asked to com­ment on why the foun­da­tion uses his name, Mu­laudzi said: “That was done be­cause my name is pop­u­lar, sim­ple.”

How­ever, the DA’s Mat Cuth­bert in­di­cated that there was a clear con­flict of in­ter­est which has the po­ten­tial to de­rail the en­tire in­ves­ti­ga­tion into large-scale loot­ing at the NLC.

He ar­gued that the fund­ing raises alarm bells con­sid­er­ing that the Depart­ment of Trade, In­dus­try and Com­pe­ti­tion (DTIC) had recently handed over ev­i­dence re­lated to the Den­zhe Pri­mary Care scan­dal to the Hawks to in­ves­ti­gate.

This comes af­ter the NPO mys­te­ri­ously scored a whop­ping R7.5m from the com­mis­sion which is now be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by Hawks.

Mu­laudzi re­it­er­ated that he is not aware of in­ves­ti­gat­ing pro­ce­dures and that it does not con­cern him as the spokesper­son.

He said the foun­da­tion, which was es­tab­lished in 2017, was meant to give skills to chil­dren in his com­mu­nity.

The com­mis­sion’s spokesper­son Ndi­vhuho Mafela said the foun­da­tion ap­plied and was ap­proved for an NLC grant in the sport and recreation sec­tor.

Mafela fur­ther re­fused to be drawn into the al­leged con­flict of in­ter­est against Mu­laudzi.

“The NLC does not fund in­di­vid­u­als, but reg­is­tered NGOs/NPOs that work for the pub­lic good,” he said.

Cuth­bert said the DA will be sub­mit­ting par­lia­men­tary ques­tions to DTIC Min­is­ter Ebrahim Pa­tel and Po­lice Min­is­ter Bheki Cele to as­cer­tain whether or not they were aware of the dis­burse­ment of funds at the time and whether or not they deem it to be a con­flict of in­ter­est.

That was done be­cause my name is pop­u­lar, sim­ple Hang­wani Mu­laudzi HAWKS SPOKESPER­SON

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