So that’s where our tourism taxes are going: the latest edition of the Free State Business Bulletin reports that the Provincial Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) believes that the Council of Free State Tourism (FST) is nothing more than ‘a circus’. Its finances are in a shocking state with grave financial corruption a rampant problem. Here are some of the details highlighted by the bulletin: FST, which has been ‘dysfunctional’ for some years, ‘made a payment of R4,5 million, not budgeted at all for, to the Free State 500 Nascar event last year. Another amount of R4,2 million also not budgeted for, was paid out to the organizer of an international soccer tournament in Mangaung, an event which has not taken place as yet.’
‘The authorisation of an amount of R1 million spent in favour of a FST delegation to the Olympic Games last year in London was also questioned. It has moreover been reported that the present acting CEO of FST was earlier paid a settlement amount of R1,8 million, also not budgeted for. He has, however subsequently been reappointed after his successor has resigned.’
And while the ‘circus’ plays on, Free State people in tourism must work on their own, with no state support, to highlight the treasures of the province.