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DA to report ANC-run eThekwini metro to Public Protector and AG over R22 million Mandela and Tambo statues

eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said R22 million was the cheapest price. Picture: Leon Lestrade

eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said R22 million was the cheapest price. Picture: Leon Lestrade

Published Jun 3, 2023


Durban - The DA intends to ask the Public Protector and the Auditor-General to probe the ANC-led eThekwini municipality over the purchase and pending erection of R22 million Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo statues.

The opposition party has alleged that the municipality diverted R10 million, which was meant to sort out the Tongaat water woes and some funds to buy fire fighting vehicles, in order to avail funds to buy the statues from China.

The party added that mayor Mxolisi Kaunda is clearly out of touch with the plight of residents in eThekwini who are currently experiencing poor services and collapsing infrastructure.

On Thursday Kaunda announced that the statues have arrived and they will be erected at the City Hall, in central Durban.

He said the statue project was first mooted in 2017 and the delivery of the statues was delayed during to Covid-19.

There are reports that the expensive statues were made in China and Kaunda said it was cheaper to import them.

“We also want to take this opportunity to report that the two statues of OR Tambo and former president Nelson Mandela that will be erected along Church Walk, have arrived.

“This project started in 2017 when the council took a resolution to transform the city hall precinct by having statues of OR Tambo and Nelson Mandela along Church Walk.

“However, the delivery of the statues was negatively affected by the outbreak of the Covid-19.

“So, we are pleased that the statues have been delivered successfully and are kept in one of our storage facilities while we are concluding the process of installing them.

“Both statues cost roughly R22 million. This was the cheapest figure as compared to others who wanted almost the same price for only one statue,” he said.

However, Francois Rodgers, the leader of the DA in KwaZulu-Natal and a member of the provincial legislature, said the matter deserves a probe by the Public Protector.

“The DA in KwaZulu-Natal will write to the Public Protector as well as the Auditor General to request that the R22 million statues by the eThekwini municipality be investigated.

“This as the municipality allegedly redirected funds of almost R10 million from the Tongaat water works, as well as specialist fire fighting vehicles for the purchase of the Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo statues,” Rodgers said.

Furthermore, residents are suffering while eThekwini is splurging money on statues.

“Kaunda is clearly out of touch with the plight of residents in eThekwini.

“While his budget made no mention of plans to relieve already burdened ratepayers, he could not miss the opportunity to impose tariff increases ensuring that ANC cadres continue to eat while residents get no services.

“This is adding fuel to fire. Residents in Tongaat have gone for days without water due to the municipality’s failure to fix infrastructure.

“For years now the eThekwini Fire Department has remained under resourced and short-staffed, in typical ANC style, the excuse has always been that the city does not have money.

“Just last week, the DA visited a community in KwaMashu where we did not only learn that they still use pit latrines, but also that for almost five years now these have not been cleaned.

“It is mind-boggling that the same municipality saw it fit that we erect statues instead. Our infrastructure is collapsing, residents do not have houses, and we are faced with frequent power outages,” he said.

The head of communication in the municipality, Lindiwe Khuzwayo, denied the allegations.

“The allegations that the city diverted funds meant for the Tongaat Water plant to pay for the statues are false and malicious.

“Each municipal department is allocated funding at the start of a financial year and the Parks Recreation and Culture Unit used funds re-prioritised from its budget for the project,” Khuzwayo said.

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