Calls for eThekwini to reconsider proposed R2.5m on awards
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DURBAN - THE Democratic Alliance in eThekwini has called on deputy city manager, Phillip Sithole, the officials in the hospitality and tourism unit and the ANC in the economic development committee to reconsider the proposed R2.5 million tourism party.
Councillor Bheka Ntuli, DA’s Economic Development and Planning Committee member said, it would make complete sense to subsidise companies in the tourism industry to keep their employees.
“The ANC opted to waste money on a series of events leading up to an annual Durban tourism awards event,” Ntuli said.
He said during the committee meeting, the ANC voted to throw a series of events leading up to the awards ceremony.
“With R2.5m you can pay 715 salaries worth R3 500. If that's not the case, rather finance companies in the tourism industry for an upkeep since their revenue is low,” Ntuli said,
He said with R2.5m you could open 250 revenue streams at R10 000 each.
“Many businesses in the hospitality/tourism sector, from the top to the bottom of the value chain, have taken strain due to Covid-19 and the ANC’s draconian lockdown regulations,” Ntuli said.
The city’s spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said, they were not surprised by the DA’s statement.
“We want to state categorically that tourism for us as eThekwini remains our gold and we will pull all the stops to ensure that we promote, support and encourage entities within the tourism industry,” Mayisela said.
Ntuli said, the DA in eThekwini would oppose this proposal in favour of expenditure that offers real empowerment and is not an excuse to offer up event tenders to comrades.
But the city said they would not be derailed or distracted by the DA’s statement.
“It has to be clear, the DA wishes to see companies in the tourism industry being acknowledged and marketed, however this event does not achieve that,’ Ntuli said.
Ntuli said businesses in the tourism sector were either converting permanent employment to contracts and temporary employment agreements.
He said others were retrenching or even shutting down because they could no longer afford to pay their staff and operate under the difficult economic conditions.
Ntuli said the tourism sector would expect the municipality to effectively promote Durban as a go-to destination during these uncertain times.
“The DA would support a call that ensures these finances directly empower affected businesses in the tourism sector and their employees who are losing their livelihoods at an alarming rate,” Ntuli said.
Michelle Brooks, 52, who owned Happy Hippo, a 3-star B&B just outside uShaka Marine, said she had to close her B&B due to the effects of the national lockdown.