Opposition parties have called for heads to roll at eThekwini Municipality over the R500 000 “doormat” carpet hired for the Reed Dance.
This as eThekwini municipal manager Sipho Nzuza on Monday launched an investigation into the debacle.
The DA leader in the province, Zwakele Mncwango, called for the municipal officials – both political and administrative – who “colluded” with the supplier to “loot” municipal funds to be axed.
Nzuza said the action to be taken would be determined by the findings of the investigation. But Mncwango blamed the ANC at council for “going all out” to defend the decision to spend R480 000 on a carpet to make the maidens from eThekwini more comfortable sleeping in the tents at the Reed Dance.
The maidens complained that the carpet felt like doormats, and some refused to wake up for it to be laid when it arrived hours late at 2am.
“They don’t care about public funds. The mayor (Zandile Gumede) now wants a report, but when we raised a concern about the price of this carpet they reacted with arrogance. This could have all been avoided had they acted responsibly and listened,” said Mncwango.
"We didn’t oppose this because we don’t support the Reed Dance, it was the amount of money spent on hiring a carpet that we opposed.”
He wrote to Nzuza on Sunday requesting that the matter be probed.
The IFP’s Mdu Nkosi did the same, despite having initially supported the item at exco.
“We supported the motion thinking municipal officials were trustworthy. We believed that a carpet that would make the maidens sleep comfortably and warmly was hired, but what was delivered was far less than value for money,” said Nkosi on Monday.
He also believes the price of the carpet was inflated in a scheme between city officials and the supplier.
“The officials involved must be fired or disciplinary action taken against them.
"f they did not know the poor quality of the carpet, it is still unjustifiable for them to report to exco not knowing what kind of product they are hiring. We can’t keep having irregularities and the people behind them keep their jobs,” said Nkosi.
He also called for the unnamed supplier to be blacklisted.
When asked by The Mercury yesterday who the supplier was, the municipality stated that: “All additional questions will be responded to when the investigation has been concluded. We have nothing further to add.”
Mncwango said it was not their duty to be involved in procurement processes, which is why from the start they had not asked who the supplier was, but rather why the price was so steep.
“But now the public deserves to know. This investigation must not just be in response to media attention, but a commitment to holding those behind this – including politicians – to account.”
Gumede has also requested a report on the debacle.