Inaugural excesses slammed

2009-07-10 00:00

LEADER of the Minority Front (MF) and member of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature Amichand Rajbansi has accused Premier Zweli Mkhize of wasteful expenditure while “preaching about financial discipline”.

In a statement released yesterday, Rajbansi said that the Premier’s inauguration, held at the Woodburn Stadium on May 11, cost R10,9 million. The MF leader said it does not make sense that Mkhize preaches financial discipline when he is the one that set a bad example.

“The country is in economic recession, the KZN government was virtually bankrupt with a R2,5 billion overdraft and departments have to cut back on normal expenditure for the next three years to recover [the money]. While the government was in overdraft food parcels were being distributed indiscriminately. If the premier sets a bad example, how can he preach to others about financial discipline? It’s a great shame on the part of Dr Zweli Mkhize,” said Rajbansi.

Rajbansi’s press statement was accompanied by an alleged breakdown of the Premier’s inauguration costs.

A total of R7 975 715,83 was allegedly spent on entertainment, security, transport for attendees to the inauguration, marquees, chairs, tables and toilets and on interpreting services.

Included in the alleged breakdown of costs is R311 596 spent on airtime with various SABC radio stations. Almost R700 000 was allegedly spent on the hiring of a hall in the Royal Agricultural Showgrounds for the gala dinner, the statement on breakdown costs alleged.

The MF allegedly received a response from the KZN acting director general, Roger Govender, that the inauguration cost more than R10 million. In a document sent by Rajbansi, the MF allegedly posed questions as to why the inauguration was not held in the Parliamentary Building on the day that ordinary members of the legislature were sworn in, and whether the expenditure on the inauguration was justified.

The response on the document that allegedly bears the signatures of both the Premier and Govender was: “The 2009 elections were not the same as the two previous elections. The huge interest they generated in people made them want to see the premier’s inauguration. Neither the Royal Showgrounds nor the Legislature Building could accommodate the people …” The actual inauguration was held at Woodburn Stadium.

ANC provincial secretary said that the party would respond to Rajbansi queries once they have seen the documents containing the claims.

 

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