Minister in Youth Fund storm

Source: Minister in Youth Fund storm | The Herald May 12, 2017

From Zvamaida Murwira in Kwekwe
Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment provincial head for the Midlands has told legislators that her office is not aware of how Cabinet Minister Makhosini Hlongwane got $33 000 from the Youth Fund. The revolving fund was set up by Government to assist disadvantaged young people aged between 18 and 35, and Minister Hlongwane was no longer within that age range when he benefited.

It also emerged that former Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Mr Thamsanqa Mahlangu (who is now late), allegedly used his influence to facilitate access to the fund by some beneficiaries, who eventually failed to repay.

This came out during a fact finding visit by Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Youth Development chaired by Gokwe Nembudziya legislator Cde Justice Mayor Wadyejena here.

Briefing legislators, the Ministry’s provincial head Mrs Clerit Chakauya said her office was not involved in the facilitation of $33 000 from Stanbic Bank in 2012 that was accessed by Sports and Recreation Minister Makhosini Hlongwane.

“We have no information on Minister Hlongwane,” she said. “We are hearing it for the first time from you. As a result, we did not supervise his project.”

Chitungwiza North MP Mr Godfrey Sithole (MDC-T) had asked about Mrs Chakauya’s involvement in disbursement of funds to politicians like Minister Hlongwane.

Stanbic submitted to the committee a list of beneficiaries of the $20 million facility it handled and Cde Hlongwane was named as one of those with arrears for his project in Zvishavane.

Others included Marondera Central MP Cde Lawrence Katsiru, who, together with members of his apostolic sect got a cumulative $200 000 from the facility, but failed to repay.

Affirmative Action Group member Mr Chamu Chiwanza’s name was one of those the bank submitted as a beneficiary.

Stanbic officials told the legislators that they were persuaded by the project proposals to disburse the funds to the beneficiaries.

Cde Hlongwane said he got the amount from Stanbic Bank, but it was not under the Youth Fund since he never applied for the facility.

He accused some political rivals of trying to tarnish his image.

On former Deputy Minister Mahlangu’s case, one of the beneficiaries, Mrs Alice Muziyawo, told the legislators that she was assisted by the deceased whom she knew as an acquaintance of her husband.

It also emerged that Mrs Muziyawo had not repaid the $1 000 she borrowed.

Officials in the ministry told the legislators that Mrs Muziyawo’s husband had not been cooperating with them each time they visited their project site enquiring about repayment.