KwaZulu-Natal will fork out R10 million to host the Brics summit in Durban later this month, with half of the bill to be paid by eThekwini ratepayers.
The head of international governance and relations for the city, Eric Apelgren, said the national Department of International Relations and Co-operation, as the summit’s “main host”, would contribute R50m.
Yesterday, a report, tabled before the municipal exco committee, stated that the city would pay R5m and the province would match this.
Brics is an acronym for the five member-state organisation comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
It will hold its fifth summit, in the city, on March 26 and 27.
DA exco member Ronnie Veeran asked why the provincial government was not contributing more to the summit’s costs.
“It is a good thing to have these conferences, we want to be a global city, but why must the ratepayers of Durban pick up the tab?”
The R5m from the province will go towards a beach festival and concerts in the city.
The report said R500 000 would be spent on “city dressing” to create awareness, welcome delegates and increase brand presence.
The money would be spent on street-pole banners, bridge banners, country flags and and other branding.
City ambassadors would also be stationed at the airport, hotels, DUT and the International Convention Centre, where delegates would attend meetings.
About R700 000 would be spent on road closures, translators, city tours for delegates and promotional merchandise on Durban, including Zulu love letters, T-shirts and gifts for selected delegates.
The report, which was passed by the exco committee yesterday, also recommended that the city use section 36 of the Municipal Finance Management Act – invoked in deviating from normal procurement processes – to appoint suppliers.
Yesterday, KZN Department of Education head Nkosinathi Sishi took to the streets in central Durban to spread news of the meeting of emerging nations among ordinary citizens.
Armed with a microphone, information pamphlets, and Brics branded caps and T-shirts, Sishi held court at the bustling Warwick Junction bus station.
“We don’t want the message to remain with the elite, but want to communicate it to people on the ground, crafted in a way they will understand,” Sishi said.
International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoane-Mashabane said this would be the first Brics summit in Africa.
“South Africa has been a leading voice since the ushering in of democracy in promoting an inclusive and equitable world order. Our advocacy for this was recognised by Brics countries when we received the invitation to join this organisation,” she said.
Premier Zweli Mkhize said the summit would improve KZN’s international standing.
“In essence, the summit serves as a platform on which synergies between the economy of KZN and economies of member nations will be strengthened. We want to promote KZN as a destination for foreign direct investment,” he said.