Durban - Opposition parties in the eThekwini Municipality have expressed outrage at the R9 million price tag to host the mayoral izimbizo by mayor Mxolisi Kaunda.
The decision was approved on Thursday by council. The parties pointed to the announcement by the City that Kaunda would participate in radio shows to engage communities as one of the cheaper ways that the mayor could use to engage with the public.
ActionSA councillor Alan Beesley said: “Public participation in the affairs of the City has been sadly lacking, and ActionSA supports any initiatives in which public participation is improved. However, these initiatives should come at a reasonable cost and should not be a vanity programme, or be used as an electioneering platform for the ANC.”
DA councillor Thabani Mthethwa said: “This money could be used to attend to the water and sanitation collapse, and fixing street lights that have not been functioning for years. If the mayor wants to engage communities he’s more than welcome to attend public meetings convened by ward councillors at no cost.”
ADeC councillor Visvin Reddy described the proposed R9m for the izimbizo as a “disgraceful and deplorable misuse of ratepayer money”.
“It is clear that the mayor and the ANC approved of this recommendation, demonstrating their complete lack of concern for the financial well-being of the City and its inhabitants,” said Reddy, adding that the ANC was using these events as electioneering campaigns.
However, ANC councillors defended the spending, saying izimbizo provided an important interface between the City and residents. ANC councillor Thembo Ntuli said they were an important feedback platform and ensured that the City leadership was visible to communities.
Democratic Liberal Congress (DLC) leader Patrick Pillay said: “The mayor means well, however, these izimbizos must be meaningful and not just for electioneering purposes by the ANC.”