PMB mayor defends herself

2009-03-26 00:00

The fall-out from Wednesday’s controversial full council meeting, which saw the IFP call for the removal of Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo over extravangant spending, continues at city hall.

Yesterday’s executive committee (Exco) meeting saw the mayor defend herself, while Deputy Mayor Mervyn Dirks and Councillor Themba Zungu used the meeting to criticise The Witness for its coverage of the municipality.

Hlatshwayo, who did not get an opportunity to speak at Wednesday’s council meeting, had her chance at the start of Exco when a faith-based centre for children in Edendale made a presentation asking for funding to complete its building.

She said that, as fellow councillors could see, there is no money going into a Hlatshwayo trust fund. “The money in the mayoral fund, as set out by legislation, is going to the youth, HIV/Aids projects and children, and there is nothing wrong with giving money to the most disadvantaged.”

Hlatshwayo said that as requests come into her office, she is obliged to consider them and she will continue to do so. “I will not be intimidated,” she said.

Zungu said he was hesitant to speak because it would be reported that his support allowed the mayor to get her way. He added that the ones who say the mayor spends money extravagantly don’t know about the projects she is involved in because it is not reported in the newspaper.

“There is a picture (in the presentation) of the mayor visiting the school. If we take this to the newspaper, I don’t think it will be published.”

When a suggestion came up later in Exco that different units in the municipality should market themselves on their service delivery efforts, both Dirks and Zungu urged the council not to buy space in The Witness. “Buy space in the Sun or Public Eye, not in The Witness; they never say anything positive about the council,” said Dirks.

The mayor came to the defence of the newspaper, firstly saying that when it comes to marketing the services of the different units, “don’t expect the newspaper to do that job for us”. She added that the newspaper has supported her and her programmes to uplift the poor.

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