Alleged R5m breakfast probe a ‘political stunt’
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DURBAN - Zululand District Municipality mayor Thulasizwe Buthelezi said the investigation by Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs into allegations that he spent R5 million on a business breakfast was just a political stunt aimed at undermining the work of the IFP-led municipality.
The mayor said this to the Daily News on Thursday after presenting the paper with proof of the cost of the business breakfast at a hotel his municipality held last week. After presenting the hotel invoice, the mayor challenged those who claimed he had spent R5m to produce their invoices, adding that people had tarnished his party’s reputation with no justification.
The municipality hosted a business breakfast at the Elangeni Hotel in Durban and during the event a group protested outside the hotel. They were shouting the mayor’s name, asking him to come down and speak to them. They held placards reading, “We have no water in Nongoma: we have eggs and bacon in Zululand”.
Leading the protest was ANC youth leader in Zululand, Lindokuhle Xulu who claimed the money spent on the event was estimated to be R5m and that the event had been advertised before the council could approve it.
Xulu also alleged that 100 rooms were booked for IFP NEC members under the guise they were for the media; however, the mayor denied this, asking for proof.
“They must prove their allegations. This is the invoice from the hotel which we paid. they must provide their invoice or proof of payment for R5m. The people of Zululand will have the final say on November 1,” said the mayor.
In the hotel invoice, the figure was just over R160 000 with no mention of accommodation.
Asked about accommodation costs, the mayor said the protesters must provide evidence for their claims. A room, on average, at the hotel costs between R1 500 and R2 200.
Cogta spokesperson Senzo Mzila said the MEC had assigned a team to investigate the breakfast cost allegations. Mzila said the probe had commenced, adding the team was expected to give the MEC a preliminary report at the end of the month.
On Thursday, Xulu said: “We still maintain that the money was way above this R134 000 he mentioned.”
ANC chief whip in the municipality Mxolisi Zulu said they were waiting for the special meeting which was scheduled to take place either on Monday or Tuesday where the matter would be discussed, adding that the meeting was supposed to approve the budget for the event.