Brits - The Madibeng local municipality in North West on Wednesday denied that mayor Jostina Mothibe and the municipal manager is set to spend over R1 million on an overseas trip.
Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor in Madibeng, Jan van Rhyn said the African National Congress-led council approved a trip to Malaysia from February 7 to 13, for the mayor and municipal manager Morris Maluleka at a cost of R529 595 per person to attend a World Urban Forum.
He said the party has written to Mothibe, urging her to reconsider the costly trip and had also have referred the matter to the DA's national spokesperson for cooperative governance and traditional affairs, Kevin Mileham MP, to intervene on a national level to stop this trip.
Municipal spokesperson Tumelo Tshabalala said it was regrettable that the DA would go all out and disseminate false information about the municipality to the public through the media. According to Tshabalala, the cost of the trip had not been determined yet.
"The truth is that the R529 595 figure was the balance of the subsistence and travel vote for the Office of the Executive Mayor at the time the report about the trip was compiled and not the cost per person for the trip," said Tshabalala.
"The report tabled at council is simple and clear about the matter. As to what drove them to conclude that the trip will cost R529 595 per person attending the Forum [World Urban Forum] is unknown to us and only they can offer explanation."
Van Rhyn said the municipality cannot afford the trip.
"This capped cash-strapped municipality cannot afford this extravagant expenditure and the trip must be cancelled. The municipality struggles monthly to meet its financial obligations. It owes millions to Eskom, Rand Water and other creditors," he said.
"Yet the ANC sees fit to spend a huge amount of money on an overseas trip which will add almost no value to the town and its residents. The Democratic Alliance in Madibeng is urging the mayor and municipal manager to place the needs of their residents first and foremost and to not waste the people’s money on this unnecessary trip."
The municipality also denied that it failed to pay municipal workers' salaries on January 25.
The background of the matter is that there was a technical glitch experienced with the salary file which led to the delay in payment of salaries in the usual early hours of pay day.
"We briefed the workers about the delay, however despite the delay, we were still able to pay salaries on the 25th January," Tshabalala said.
African News Agency/ANA