If you’re ever looking for a local version of the Grinch in Durban, look no further than the City Hall, says the writer. File picture: Doctor Ngcobo African News Agency (ANA)
I notice the Grinch, that mean-spirited fictional creature who hated Christmas with a passion, has now become a big hit once again on the local cinema circuit.

As the main character from the kiddies book How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, he was grumpy about everything associated with Christmas - including the festive cheer and the singing of joyful carols.

Until the day, as the story goes, he couldn’t take it any longer and decided to destroy it once and for all.

What a grouchy killjoy! Christmas is after all a time for loving, sharing and giving.

Well, if you’re ever looking for a local version of the Grinch in Durban, look no further than the City Hall. There you will find officials of the mayoral parlour who, together with ward councillors representing citizens throughout the Durban metro, are responsible for organising the annual Christmas party for more than 60 000 senior citizens.

As you would expect, the old folk look forward to this annual event which is supposed to include a welcome Christmas lunch, an opportunity to get to know each other through some fun activity and handy food parcels which go some way towards stretching their meagre grants.

But thanks to poor planning and mismanagement by this mayoral cheer committee, the party has turned out to be a comedy of blunders year in and year out.

And it’s not as if money has been an impediment. An amount of R15 million of ratepayer funds were budgeted to be spent this year.

At about this time every year, you will hear the mayoral cheer committee trot out the same old excuses why things didn’t go according to plan.

So, as you raise your glasses to celebrate Christmas on Tuesday, spare a thought for thousands of senior citizens all over Durban who’ve been left out in the cold again this year.

Word has it that their Christmas parties have been delayed and will now only take place after Christmas Day - almost like lighting your fireworks a week after Diwali.

Last year, they were marred by a legal row - when an unsuccessful food parcel bidding company interdicted the municipality, citing claims of unfairness in the tender process.

Parties in some municipal wards went ahead but many senior citizens complained there were no refreshments and lunch was served late. Many of them left the venue disgusted.

What is even more disturbing are claims that the delays may be linked to the involvement of certain city officials in the procurement processes for the Christmas project.

If there’s even an ounce of truth to that allegation, certain people need to be held accountable. It’s nothing short of an absolute disgrace that our senior citizens are treated with such uncaring indifference and downright disrespect.

These are folk who have given the best years of their lives to grow Durban. Surely they deserve more in return after a lifetime of investment in our city.

* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.