Funds stopped for funeral T-shirts with ANC logo

2008-05-01 00:00

Municipal manager Rob Haswell has ordered payment on the T-shirts provided for a staffer’s funeral to be stopped — after the Democratic Alliance provided proof that they were used to promote the ANC.

Haswell said council’s executive committee will now reconsider the matter. The council provided R20 000 to fund transport and the T-shirts.

At a media briefing yesterday, the DA showed off one of the T-shirts, printed with the ANC logo and the face of Sakhiseni Zondi, manager of the Msunduzi youth unit at the time of his death.

“This shows how … the funeral was used to rally support for the ANC, and as such, the use of public funds for the funeral was unacceptable,” said DA caucus leader Bill Lambert, threatening to go to the provincial Treasury regarding the municipality’s expenditure on the funeral.

When Exco voted to pay for the T-shirts and buses, DA councillors objected, saying the decision set a dangerous precedent.

The municipality usually only allows staff to use a municipal minibus to travel to a colleague’s funeral.

The municipality’s internal audit committee was asked by the DA last week to investigate whether the expenditure is in contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act. The internal audit unit is yet to respond to the DA’s request.

“It is irregular to use public funds for party political purposes. Had the ANC paid for the T-shirts, we would not have found fault in that. It just goes to show that once again the ANC has lost sight of the distinction between the party and the state. It is regrettable that the funeral of this young man was the subject of such blatant political exploitation,” said Lambert.

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