DA slams millions ‘on ANC rally’

2014-05-21 00:00

DURBAN’s municipality set aside R3 million to bus thousands to hear President Jacob Zuma speak last month, in a bill slammed by opposition councillors as “an ANC rally at ratepayers’ expense”.

Having already had at least two major launch events — including an opening by Mayor James Nxumalo — the Cornubia mixed-income housing project was opened “again” by the president last month, in an event witnessed by some 10 000 people — many wearing ANC T-shirts. Millions more in costs — including the bill for a vast marquee tent — were carried by the Presidency and the Department of Human Settlements.

Yesterday, a report submitted to eThekwini’s executive committee (Exco) showed that R1 095 000 was spent on direct costs — especially transport and publicity — for what was a showcase of development between three levels of government. But the report also included an unusual “contingency” allocation of almost twice the stated costs — R1,9 million for “unforeseen expenditure” — which triggered protest from DA councillors.

The report lists a cost of R258 000 for 81 buses; R216 000 for 112 taxis; and about R390 000 for advertising. The municipality did not disclose how much of the additional R1,9 million was spent.

Zuma did not campaign directly for the ANC at the event. Instead, he described the future benefits of Cornubia, including schools and clinics on-site — “jobs will be across the road and people can just walk. Everything must be here” — and extolled the virtues of the government. “If you do not like this government, there is really something wrong with you,” he told the crowd.

“Those who say we make promises we don’t keep don’t have ears.”

But beneficiaries who took the stage — like new homeowner Sthembiso Shezi — created a campaign atmosphere with statements like: “We are also thankful to the ANC, that will exist forever.”

Zwakele Mncwango, the DA caucus leader, said, “Why not just bus the 482 beneficiaries to the event — why pay to bus 10 000 people from outside to the opening? Of course, it was to campaign for votes.”

Mncwango alleged that one ANC councillor told Exco candidly that the money “was well spent because the project shows how the ANC delivers”.

DA’s Heinz de Boer said a request had been tabled for a full accounting of the costs, “I have never seen a contingency like that before — almost twice the stated costs. This was an ANC rally from beginning to end, and we still don’t know quite how much it cost ratepayers.”

Describing the budget request a month after the money was already spent, city manager Sibusiso Sithole stated, “The pilot phase is complete and residents are moving in from across the municipality. We received late confirmation of the event, hence the normal procurement process for the event cannot be followed.”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.