Just how much the Mpumalanga provincial government may have paid to keep militant unemployed youth organisation, Practical Radical Economic Transformation (PRET) at bay will remain a mystery.
What is clear, though is that the Mpumalanga provincial government may have spent millions and used a variety of vehicles to dispense patronage to the militant youth organisation.
A memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by Mpumalanga’s head of department for economic development and tourism, Muzi Mkhize and Sgudla, states that the two organisations agree to facilitate (unspecified) projects for youth employment.
The agreement also states that they will use “implementing agents” to execute that agreement.
“Parties agree that the actual implementation of programmes identified for collaboration may be rendered through the Parties’ Implementing Agents,” reads the agreement signed on 1 April 2017.
In an exclusive interview with Ziwaphi – The New Era, the founder of PRET, Themba Sgudla, claimed that the provincial government entered into a five-year contract worth R10 million to stage the Mpumalanga Show, and another 5 year-contract to fund PRET.
“I’m stuck with government for the next 10 years,” said Sgudla confidently.
Neither Sgudla nor the provincial government has disclosed the monetary value of the PRET contract, but the agreement clearly shows that PRET would not be the vehicle to channel money.
But the Mpumalanga premier’s office denies that it has funded any of Sgudla’s companies.
“The Office of the Premier is not aware of any individual funding by the former premier to Mr Masofa Sgudla, except that the provincial government partnered with the Mpumalanga Show led by its chairman Mr Brian Ring,” said Mncwango.
Sgudla said that Brian Ring resigned as the chairperson of the Mpumalanga Show after Mabuza anointed Refilwe Mtsweni as his successor in government.
He also accused Mtshweni of dishonouring all agreements that he had with the government.
“When Refilwe took over, she started attacking everything that involves me. That is when I threatened to register PRET as a political party,” he said.
He also claimed that Mtsweni and other MEC started a parallel structure to counter PRET, but claimed it was ineffective.
“Even when they created a parallel structure led by the former secretary of PRET, Sunday Mathebula, which was launched by Refilwe and all the MECs. They try to destroy everything that is led by me.
“It has failed I launched (PRET) with five thousand members, that guy has launched it with 150 people,” he said.
Sgudla is on record that he funded deputy president David Mabuza;s campaign for the ANC presidency.