Durban - UThukela District Municipality in Ladysmith says while it cannot deny that its facing financial challenges and budgetary constraints, these issues do not prevent the municipality from soliciting sponsorships from private donors to host events.
The IFP-led municipality, which is under administration, came under scrutiny from the DA and the ANC for hosting a councillors workshop in Durban amid financial challenges.
The workshop was held over three days from June 27 to 29 this week.
The ANC’s Josiah Gumede Region said since the municipality is under administration, they need to know if the administrator approved such a ‘wasteful expenditure’.
They said the municipality’s residents were faced with water outages.
“Since Monday, the council is running a workshop in Durban. They sleep in hotels, yet they claim that there is no money. Communities don't have water which is one of their basic functions, but they spend the taxpayers money on non-essentials and luxury,” said ANC Josiah Gumede Region Secretary Bonga Hlomuka.
Hlomuka said the municipality had failed to provide water reliably, which has led to schools closing.
“Our children have been away from schools for an average of three months since January, and they still can't see anything wrong with this.”
UThukela Municipality spokesperson Jabulani Mkhonza said the workshop was paid for through sponsorship and protocols were followed in preparing for the workshop, and there was an advert that was placed, duly signed by the former municipal manager and ratified by the administrator.
“The theory that the supply chain management policy was never followed is far-fetched and mischievous. If one has evidence, they must then provide us with the evidence for that,” he said.
The ANC demanded to know who the donor was that paid for the event.
Responding to the water issues, Mkhonza said the water challenges that the municipality encountered were as a result of the recent floods, ageing infrastructure and pump failures.
Mkhonza said there that there is also an element of sabotage concerning damage to water infrastructure.
“What we are trying to say is that there is an element of sabotage being carried out against the municipality. It cannot be denied that there are vandals who are out there vandalising and destroying our water and sanitation infrastructure. Thus, our standpoint is that we view all this as nothing but a cheap publicity stunt.”