Durban - The eThekwini Municipality’s participation in the South African Local Government Association (Salga) Games has come under scrutiny following revelations that it will cost the city millions of rand to take part.
The metro revealed during the executive committee on Tuesday that it needed R7.05 million to fund the city’s participation in the games.
As things stand, eThekwini will be sending a team of more than 300 people to the games that will take place in the Amajuba District Municipality at the end of the year. Part of the team includes 40 councillors.
While the participation in these games was supported across party lines, the parties baulked at the price tag and called for it to at least be halved.
A report on the matter requested that authority be granted to the head: Parks Recreation and Culture to co-ordinate the participation of eThekwini teams at the Salga games from December 1-4 2022.
“Subject to the approval of the above, authority be granted to the head to incur expenditure of R7 million for co-ordination and participation in the Salga games,” the report said.
The cost of travel and accommodation for all the travelling officials and councillors will be covered by the amount.
About 280 athletes will take part in the games, accompanied by 52 technical officials, 35 support staff and 40 councillors.
According to the breakdown, R2m will go towards covering the cost for Salga clothing for this group and R2.5m will go towards accommodation, R600 000 towards transport and R400 000 towards catering.
Councillors said the cost was too high.
DA councillor Thabani Mthethwa said the spending of such an amount was excessive and the council should consider reducing the size of the team.
Mthethwa said they were not opposed to the games, but were concerned about the high cost.
“If you look at this, R7 million is going to be spent on the games, if you look at the number of councillors that are going to these games, if we reduced that number, we could actually reduce the expenditure on these games,” he said.
The sentiments were shared by IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi who said they also wanted the cost reduced, but not to the point where the cuts compromised the ability of the athletes to participate effectively.
He said in the past the municipality could afford to spend lavishly on such games because it had money, but that was no longer the case.
He agreed that the number of councillors could be reduced and suggested that only councillors who serve on the Community Services committee should attend the games.
Nkosi said the city should also ensure accommodation for those travelling was booked well in advance to avoid embarrassing situations where attendees were forced to settle for inadequate rooms.
ANC councillor Nkosenhle Madlala said they too were concerned about the proposed expenditure on the games.
He proposed that the item be approved on condition that the city officials rework the expenditure.
The report was removed by exco, with the DA abstaining. Officials were however, ordered to relook at the calculations.