The Democratic Alliance (DA) in eThekwini has slammed Durban Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda for using taxpayer money on a public relations exercise to prove that there is service delivery in the metro.
In a statement, Councillor Mzamo Billy said the party rejected a request to approve a request for R6,791,930 for the Mayoral Izimbizo and R2,248,280 for civic and ceremonial functions.
"This is a total cost of R9 million to help Mayor Kaunda convince residents that the city is working. Part of the expenditure includes R625,920 for artists and performers, R781,580 for stage and sound crew, and R3.2 million for catering. The DA voted against this request," Billy said.
"This is a pure self-aggrandising public relations exercise by the mayor that can only be seen as part of efforts to spread fake information about the true state of the city," he added.
He said that while they appreciate the importance of community engagement, the DA is of the view that this can be achieved in a much more economical manner.
Billy said the municipality, through the Speaker's office, has various existing and funded methods of community engagements and participation.
"This includes community councillor report-back meetings, war rooms, ward committee meetings, and stakeholder engagements, and the mayor can easily be part of these efforts. In fact, if the city was working as it should, the mayor would not even need millions of rands to address residents on service delivery," he said.
Billy said that while Kaunda "suddenly wants to be seen to care about the pain and suffering that the City has caused to residents,", the cost of doing it lacks empathy and is misguided.