Outcry after Durban Metro spends R400k on two councillor's funerals
Durban - The official opposition party in the eThekwini Municipality, the DA has lambasted the ANC-run Executive Committee for approving expenditure of R400 000 on two councillor's funerals recently despite stringent coronavirus lockdown regulations that limits guests to no more than 50 people.
The two items were among the documents part of the multi-party Executive Committee agenda that was handed out on Tuesday.
Nicole Graham, the DA caucus leader said the the two items were presented as a rule of order 28 items, meaning that Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda has already taken the decision to spend the funds under the guise of an 'emergency'.
According to the the breakdown the city spent R200 000 each for the funerals of late ANC Councillors Bhekithemba Phungula and Nomusa Mthembu.
"It also includes that the grave lease for the late Councillor Phungula is waived for ten years to the tune of R47 000, which is completely inconsistent with an ordinary grave lease of around R1100," Graham said.
"Whilst we mourn the losses of both Councillors and send our condolences to the families and communities, this kind of expenditure at such a time as this is unthinkable," she said.
The DA pointed out that funerals are currently limited to 50 people and the expenses surrounding it should not be as high as before the lockdown period.
"How does a 50 person funeral cost R200 000?" asked Graham.
"Previously, expenditure on civic funerals has not been properly itemised and blank cheques were seemingly the order of the day. The municipality remains in a dire financial position with drastically reduced cash flow and projected unemployment of 41%. The sad reality of the eThekwini Municipality's lockdown response is that everyone has had to take a hit but the ANC elite and those associated with them. People are starving, unemployed and watching their businesses collapse but municipal funding seems to flow like water," she said.