Row over eThekweni councillors’ soccer ‘jaunt’
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Durban - The eThekwini municiplaity is set to splash about R69 000 on councillors for a trip to a football tournament in Germany.
In a statement, the DA said the city would send the councillors with the Girls’ under-15 football team to the One Nation Cup, to be held in Bremen, Germany.
The tournament will run from May 30 to June 4. It will cost the team and its support staff R508 800 to attend.
“You have to look at what benefit does the city derive from sending the councillors. There is a benefit to sending the children, but not the councillors,” he said.
Ward 36 councillor, Shaun Ryley, said they were not against the trip for the children and technical staff, but questioned whether there was a need to send city officials and councillors.
Ryley is a member of the community and emergency services committee responsible for sending the children on the trip.
He said sending the councillors amounted to funding a “jaunt”.
Ryley said there was sufficient technical staff to give adequate support to the 16 children who would be participating in the tournament.
When they were voting he said the DA decided to abstain and not vote against the trip because they only had an issue with the councillors. In addition to the councillors, three “administrative” officials have been included in the trip.
Dharmand Nowbuth, of the Isipingo Ratepayers association, said: “Surely the team can function without the councillors; I can’t see their purpose.”
He said the councillors’ “first duty is to serve the ratepayers”. Nowbuth said the councillors should best spend their time fixing ratepayers’ issues.
He said the eThekwini Municipality could spend its money more wisely.
The trip comes after an outcry earlier this year when it emerged that more than 40 councillors and city officials had been invited to a three-day cruise conference in March on the lavish cruise vessel MSC Sinfonia, which was headed to the Portuguese Island in Mozambique.
The price tag for the conference was about R160 000. The ANC Youth League also joined in the chorus of people condemning it describing it as “reckless”, and saying that they would mobilise people not to vote for those who went on the cruise.
This happened despite Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan and President Zuma calling for more frugal spending earlier on in the year.
The Daily News made numerous attempts to contact councillor Zandile Gumede who chairs the community and emergency services committee, but she had not responded to questions at the time of publication.
Council Speaker, Logie Naidoo, said the councillors were being sent on the trip in a supervisory role.
He said the councillors would fulfil the role of the children’s parents because they would not be on the trip.
Naidoo said they supported the principle of austerity measures.
“Certainly going forward we are looking to cut down on spending in the future.”
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