Durban - The DA in eThekwini has condemned the municipality’s plan to record former president Jacob Zuma’s popular Struggle songs, saying this was merely spending ratepayers’ money on “blatant patronage”.
DA caucus leader in the council, Nicole Graham, was reacting to remarks by city parks, recreation and culture unit head Thembinkosi Ngcobo, who revealed that his unit had reached an agreement with Zuma to record the live performances of his Struggle songs.
Ngcobo said the recording would be conducted in Durban in April, with a Durban mass choir backing him.
Graham said Ngcobo had not approached council with the proposal to record Zuma.
“The DA will be writing to the city manager, asking him to rein-in the parks unit and put a stop to this unethical project. This record deal is blatant patronage where the people’s money will be used to finance the former President’s lifestyle,” Graham said.
She added that Ngcobo’s unit was failing in its official mandate and “has seemingly gone rogue” by abandoning many of its core functions in favour of flashy events and concerts.
“It is now clear for all to see that the eThekwini Municipality has become completely captured by the failing ANC.
“The DA will fight this matter tooth and nail in the interests of all who prioritise service delivery over politics,” she said.
However, Ngcobo denied that Zuma would benefit financially out of the recordings. He said at the beginning of each financial year, his unit sat with the council to propose projects that needed funding.
He said the unit had received R25million this financial year for “the arts and living cultures”.
“This is used to fund projects taking place within communities by recording artists who require assistance,” he said.
When asked if the Zuma project was presented to the council, Ngcobo said: “We don’t necessarily go into details of each and every project.”
Zuma’s spokesperson Vukile Mathabela said his office would today meet to discuss the recording project before it is able to respond to the media queries.
“I only got to know about it when Ngcobo tweeted it,” he said.