Posh new suite for mayor

2010-02-24 00:00

DESPITE being in the midst of a major financial crisis, the Msunduzi Municipality has just had new leather furniture delivered to the Mayor’s Parlour.

Although the mayor’s office said the furniture was ordered last year, it failed to disclose how much it cost, who picked it out and who decided that new furniture was necessary.

Said Msunduzi Municipality spokeswoman Ntobeko Ngcobo: “The tender was awarded to the suppliers in June 17, 2009.

“The furniture was only delivered last week due to the fact that we did not have storage space for the furniture as the city hall is undergoing renovations and the supplier was not willing to store the furniture any longer as they were going to incur storage charges.”

Ngcobo said the office of the mayor “receives a large number of community members on a daily basis”, and new furniture is needed for the waiting area so that people do not have to stand in long queues while waiting for assistance.

However, city hall employees who regularly walk past the waiting area which is cordoned off by a see-through glass door, told The Witness that the only people who frequent the seating area are bodyguards.

Ngcobo said the replaced couches are more than five years old and it had become costly to repair them in the last two years, so a request was made for new couches to be purchased.

City hall employees said nothing was wrong with the old couches.

Ngcobo said the old couches would be placed at the youth advisory centre.

She added, “The rest of the purchased furniture is for new staff members employed in the office.

“The office of the mayor would not have needlessly purchased the couches; the couches are of good quality, are reasonably priced and we are certain that they will last for many years instead of … cheap material [that would] last a few months,”

DA councillor Bill Lambert said the purchase was uneccessary and he has yet to see long queues in the mayor’s parlour.

“There was nothing wrong with the previous suite. Why go for an expensive option?” he said.

IFP councillor Dolo Zondi said that even though the order was made last year, it should have been cancelled in the wake of the revelations over the municipality’s dire financial situation.

“It’s proof beyond any degree of doubt that the municipality’s funds are being mismanaged. We haven’t seen queues in the mayor’s parlour,” he said.

Zondi said the parlour furniture is luxurious and there is no point in replacing it.

He said there is plenty of space for people to wait for assistance, citing the mayor’s lounge as well as the upstairs boardroom.

“It’s sheer waste,”Zondi added.

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