Cape Town - Opposition parties have rejected an investment trip proposed by Saldanha Bay mayor André Truter to Belgium in Europe, charging it would have been a waste of taxpayers’ money.
The trip, proposed for the month of September/October 2022, was tabled to council for approval during a meeting on Tuesday.
It was rejected by the Patriotic Alliance (PA), GOOD, EFF and the Freedom Front Plus.
PA deputy provincial leader Sammy Claassen said the trip was estimated at R269 281 – money that was not budgeted for.
“It was unplanned and therefore they wanted council’s approval to take money from other budgeted items.
“We strongly argued that the report does not entail any details of any possible investments, projects or clients nor any realistic opportunities for the people of Saldanha Bay.
“We cautioned the mayor and his executive not to waste the taxpayers’ monies on any overseas trip as the budget is under severe pressure and people or the taxpayers of Saldanha Bay are already suffering.
“The executive mayor then withdrew the proposed trip and report.
“This was a victory for the people of Saldanha Bay.
“This trip would have not been in the interest of Saldanha Bay and we succeeded in not allowing financial expenditure that is not in the budget and therefore not good governance,” he said.
Truter told the Cape Times on Wednesday the trip was an investment trip which forms part of a national growth plan.
“After I heard everybody speak I withdrew the trip.
“I had enough votes to pass the proposal but I don’t like dividing the votes by the council, so I decided to ask the administration to remove the item.
“I actually got a standing ovation from the house after that. I respect the opposition’s stand point because I want to build trust.
“I don’t mind not going on the trip, I am very busy.
“But I will be very disappointed if others go and manage to drive back investment,” he said.
ANC head of communications Sifiso Mtsweni said the DA is known for “taking leisure trips across the world under the guise of attracting investments”.
“They are doing this even in the legislature where they take marry-go-round trips at taxpayers’ expense without doing the actual oversight work and service delivery related matters.
“How does this mayor’s lavish trip benefit the residents of Saldanha Bay who are unemployed and living in abject poverty?” asked Mtsweni.