DURBAN - CO-OPERATIVE Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka said his department would investigate the alleged abuse of council funds by Zululand mayor Thulasizwe Buthelezi who hosted a business breakfast in Durban apparently without the council approval.
The district municipality hosted the breakfast at Elangeni Hotel on Thursday. The money spent on the event was estimated to be R5 million.
ANC Zululand regional secretary Zakhele Buthelezi told Daily News on Monday that a council meeting that was to approve the funds for the event was supposed to take place the day before the event but could not sit as most IFP councillors were already in Durban. He said the council did not approve funds for the event. Therefore, it was wasteful expenditure.
“It appeared that the mayor had already paid for the service providers before the event could be approved by the council. We do not understand how this could happen. The event had already been advertised before the council could approve it,” said Buthelezi.
The ANC also issued a statement calling on Hlomuka to investigate.
The MEC confirmed to the Daily News that the matter would be investigated.
During the event, a group protested outside the hotel. They were shouting the mayor’s name to come down and speak to them. They had placards reading: “We have no water in Nongoma: we have eggs and bacon in Zululand.”
Responding to the allegations, the mayor had said the event would benefit Zululand most as the businesses have already pledged R650m, which would help boost the local economy and create job opportunities.
“It does not make sense at all to say you host the event to woo investment and boost the local economy but take it out about 300km away from your place. The money used to pay the hotel, tea and food was supposed to be spent in a hotel within a district. It was not intended to benefit Zululand people, but was used to facilitate IFP councillors’ travel and accommodation costs,” said ANC youth leader Lindokuhle Xulu, who led the protest.
Attempts to get comment from the mayor on Monday were unsuccessful.