Durban mayor Zandile Gumede’s R25 million mayoral parlour programme has been approved despite opposition by DA councillors who questioned whether residents would benefit.
A report was presented by city manager Sipho Nzuza in a municipal exco meeting yesterday, providing details on what the money would be spent on.
Nzuza said the programme's objective was to ensure Gumede fulfilled her responsibilities including promoting positive relationships, interacting with and supporting interest group including women, vulnerable groups and the youth.
More than R8 million was budgeted for youth programmes, more than R3m on programmes aimed at vulnerable groups, R1.1m on military veterans, R4.8m for a mayoral imbizo and R1.4m for a mayoral lekgotla.
The DA's Zwakele Mncwango questioned whether all the events in the programme would be beneficial to residents.
"I’m not sure what benefit the community will get from it (mayoral lekgotla), I’m not sure we can call it effective use of resources. I’m not sure it it addresses the service delivery needs that the communities are waiting for from us."
He said he had never been to a mayoral lekgotla and did not see the use of it.
Mncwango also argued that the issue of military veterans was a national competence.
Mncwango suggested that the money should rather be used for things like storm disaster relief and in aid of the Foreman Road fire victims.
Fellow DA councillor Heinz De Boer said the R25m “is not our money, it’s the money of the residents, the taxpayers and ratepayers. Would it not be more wise to take R25m and provide programmes that will actually empower them through training, skills development, something that will actually earn them a job…”
In response, Gumede said it was important to interact with communities.
She accused De Boer of having his own political agenda.
Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer said it was within the ambit of the Mayor’s functions to host such programmes.
Chairperson of the Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee, Mondli Mthembu said,
“It is critical that the mayor goes out and interacts with people. I encourage Mayor Gumede to keep going out and doing what she is doing,” he said.