ANC, DA officials scramble for hall

2013-04-05 00:00

A WAR of words over a hall booking has broken out between ANC and Democratic Alliance councillors as each side tries to prove who cares more for the poor.

The DA’s Mergan Chetty said his party had booked the Bombay Road Civic Centre to help poor residents fill in their application forms to qualify for relief under the Msunduzi council’s indigent policy. This was to have been done tomorrow. He said the DA had booked the hall after the council turned down a request for an extension of the deadline for when the forms have to be submitted.

However, he was later told that the ANC had already booked the centre for the same time. Still later, he was told that his party would have to pay to use the hall.

Chetty said councillors were allowed free use of the hall for council matters.

He has written to municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi complaining of “mischievous attempts to cause conflict and confusion by some officials and councillors”.

The ANC’s Manilall Inderjith is not budging on the issue, saying he was asked by his party to book the hall, as it had also planned to help poor people fill in their forms. He had done this through the Speaker’s office, as was allowed. He said ANC councillor Rachel Soobiah had paid for the use of the hall.

Inderjith disputed Chetty’s interpretation of the policy on councillors’ use of halls. He said ward councillors could use halls free for three hours on weekdays, but priority was for paying users.

Soobiah said the ANC had already launched a door-to-door campaign, taking application forms to residents’ homes, and was not waiting for the poor to come to them.

The dispute may be resolved at an executive council meeting this afternoon.

Mayor Chris Ndlela and Nkosi were at a meeting with Premier Zweli Mkhize and unavailable for comment.

Chetty said it had been overlooked that it was the DA that proposed in a written submission that the household income ceiling for indigents should not be lowered.

This was after officials had reduced it from R3 000 to R2 400, a proposal initially backed by the ANC. He said that after the outcry in the media, the proposed policy was reviewed and one of the changes adopted at the last council meeting was that the ceiling be increased to R3 200.

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