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eThekwini Municipality accused of using municipal funds to campaign for ANC in the local elections

Opposition parties in the eThekwini Municipality have accused the city of using ratepayers’ money to campaign for the ANC for the upcoming elections.

The eThekwini Municipality put up this poster in the CBD to encourage people to vote. However, opposition parties have accused the ANC of using municipal funds to campaign for the ANC. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Oct 13, 2021


DURBAN - OPPOSITION parties in the eThekwini Municipality have accused the city of using ratepayers’ money to campaign for the ANC for the upcoming elections.

The allegation surfaced after the municipality put up an advertisement banner in the Durban CBD adorned with yellow and black colours associated with the ANC. The city’s own colour is blue.

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The banner makes no political support of the ANC, but encourages people to vote. It was put up over a mural depicting kings of the Zulu nation, which caused another uproar.

The municipality yesterday dismissed the allegation, saying it had been using the colour yellow for a long time.

IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi said the advertisement was a clear indication that the municipality was using ratepayers’ money to support the ANC.

“We have noticed many things that have been happening that seem like the council is campaigning for the ruling party. If they really wanted to put up a poster to tell people that the city was performing well, why did they wait until now to do that? Fortunately, we will be there during the second term and we will push for these matters to be investigated,” he said.

Nkosi said even the message being communicated in the banner was misleading. “It claims that the city of eThekwini is delivering services to the community, which services are they delivering as the city is dirty, it stinks, it has people sleeping on the road?”

He also took issue with the fact that the banner had covered the faces of the Zulu kings, saying there was plenty of space available in Durban where this banner could have been placed.

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DA councillor Thabani Mthethwa said the banner was one of many things the party had noticed which showed the municipality was using state resources to sponsor the activities of the ANC.

He alleged that some of the city’s units were even phasing out their uniform colours of blue and replacing it slowly with the colours associated with the ruling party.

“The reason we see government departments collapsing, the reason we saw many councillors in eThekwini facing criminal charges is because they are failing to separate the state from the party, they are treating state resources as theirs for the taking,” he said.

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Political analyst Thabani Khumalo said if this was a city project, it should have used the city’s blue colour as the background.

“The problem there is that blue is associated with the ANC’s opposition, the DA, so the city found itself between a rock and a hard place. The question is: if they are not happy with blue, why are they keeping it as they are the one’s who are in charge?” asked Khumalo.

He said the perception that the city was using council funds to market the ANC was not misplaced and the use of these colours during an election campaign lent credence to such claims.

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Municipal spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela rubbished the claims.

“It is very misleading to say that the municipality in this banner used yellow with an intention of misleading people or of advancing the election agenda of the ruling party. From time immemorial, the city has been using yellow, and we have evidence in this regard,” he said.

“Yellow is considered a happy colour which to a certain extent also represents a brighter future, which is why we used it to compliment this message that is on the banner, which urges people to vote for any political party of their choice.

“We are appealing to those who are concerned about this colour usage to refrain from making a mountain out of a molehill,” he said.