City of Joburg’s Mayor Dr Mpho Phalatse has condemned reports claiming that her office had spent exorbitant amounts for the failed mayoral committee members announcement on Friday.
In denying the reports, which are also circulating on social media, Phalatse was adamant that the reports were a deliberate attempt to bring the office of the mayor into disrepute.
Phalatse’s comments also came after the ANC issued a statement saying she must pay for the costs of the failed announcement from her own pocket.
Reacting to the allegations, she said: “The truth is that I stressed to the organisers of the meeting that costs must be kept at a minimum. I gave explicit instructions for the arrangements to be tentative and not final. This decision was due to the coalition negotiations being prolonged.
“I also said at most there should be a two-hour event with a small breakfast for a maximum of R200 per person using in-house catering and no lunch. It was also agreed that we will make use of a council venue to eliminate venue hire costs,” she said.
Phalatse said her office was then informed that a media advisory had been sent out for an event on Friday morning, saying she immediately contacted the organisers to halt the process, but was informed that there would be costs.
“We enquired what these costs would be. For reasons that are clearly politically motivated, someone has sought to spread a lie that there is an extravagant event that has been cancelled and has incurred a highly inflated cost.
“The so-called costs are incorrect and it is obvious that an erroneous invoice has been circulated to the public. These costs are contested and there will be an appropriate conversation with the supplier in this regard. For example, there should be no costs for venue hire, chairs and such as the event was supposed to be held at a council venue,” Phalatse said.
She further said the City manager would probe the circulation of internal documents in the public domain, and the organisational failure regarding the halted event.
“Moreover, I will ensure that those responsible for any botch-up in the arrangements are held accountable. The fact is, the true cost will be much lower and we will assess how best to cover any shortfall, which would be very small,” Phalatse said.