KwaZulu-Natal - Opposition parties in the eThekwini municipal council criticised mayor James Nxumalo after he called for Apple iPads to be issued to councillors because he was the only mayor without the device, The Times reported on Thursday.

The Democratic Alliance said if councillors were given iPads, this would waste taxpayers' money because most of them did not know how to use their state-issued laptops.

“We have laptops but were never provided with printers with scanners, which we were promised,” DA councillor Heinz de Boer told the newspaper.

“We have piles of paper with council letterheads but we cannot write letters for our communities because we have no printers,” he said.

DA deputy caucus leader Zwakele Mncwango said iPads could be useful if agendas could be received electronically.

“Advancing technology is a good thing but there must be good communication. At the moment the council is wasting a lot of money sending officials to deliver agendas to (councillors') homes,” he said.

According to the report, all 200 councillors were given laptops eight years ago so that the city could move away from paper-based systems.

Ratepayers would have to fork out R1.5 million to buy an iPad for each councillor at about R7 500 a device.

The city had already spent R1.9m on laptops and internet packages. - Sapa