‘Public forums no place for politics’

2010-05-05 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube has cautioned politicians based in the province to stop politicking at publicly funded municipal budget hearings.

MEC spokesperson Vernon Mchunu said Dube has been informed that among the forums being abused recently are municipal budget hearings, “where political figures tend to speak about issues affecting their political formations, as opposed to contributing to issues of municipal administration and governance as a way of helping to improve the livelihoods of our communities”.

Dube’s statement came just a day after IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi criticised President Jacob Zuma for publicly declaring his negative HIV status, saying that, given Zuma’s sexual history, this will give the impression that someone can have sex with an HIV-positive person and not contact the virus.

Buthelezi made the remarks while addressing an Abaqulusi (Vryheid) Municipality bud­get and IDP roadshow on Monday.

“We are pleased for his [Zuma’s] health.

“Nevertheless, it is a pity that everybody knows the president had unprotected inter­course with a young lady who was HIV-positive …” Buthelezi said in Vryheid.

Buthelezi also used the occasion to address the rift affecting the IFP as it prepares for the elective conference at the month-end.

He attacked a group calling itself the “Friends of VZ”, which is campaigning for IFP national chairperson Zanele Magwaza-Msibi to be the next president of the IFP.

Mchunu said Dube is duty-bound to caution against any municipal activity that flies in the face of the service delivery mandate of municipalities.

“Budget hearings have been designed to become platforms where the public gets to air its views and contribute to directing the municipal budget towards areas most pertinent to improving the lives of the communities,” Dube said.

“It is unfortunate that nowadays … the opposite is taking place in the form of these platforms becoming battlefields where internal political squabbles are being dealt with.”

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