Msunduzi's "elaborate" expenditure questioned

2015-10-19 11:38
Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela at the media launch of the State of the City address yesterday.

Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela at the media launch of the State of the City address yesterday. (Kailene Pillay)

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Pietermaritzburg - Nearly R2,5 million was spent on this year’s State of City Address with almost half a million rand on draping the “elaborate” hall.

A whopping R400 000 was spent on catering and just over R633 000 on advertising the event in newspapers and on the radio.

The budget further revealed that city mayor Chris Ndlela had a photoshoot and DVD production done at a cost of R18 500.

Msunduzi Municipality revealed their budget after the DA questioned the city’s accountability and transparency during the State of City Address debate.

Councillor Vic Winterbach requested a full breakdown of expenses from the city to host the “elaborate” event in July.

Winterbach said the DA was “highly concerned” at the excessively elaborate nature of the mayor’s 2015 State of the City Address.

Ndlela said the State of the City Address was a very important event and he did not see why the DA questioned the amount when they were part of the council who approved the budget.

The DA submitted a written question in July this year to the speaker of the city, Babu Baijoo asking for mayor Chris Ndlela to respond.

Winterbach said the expenditure must be viewed against a backdrop of serious budget cuts, especially in respect of infrastructure maintenance, due to lack of funding. “To embark on a spending spree of this nature at this time of hardship for many communities in Msunduzi is highly irresponsible.

“By carefully diverting one or two million Rand to where it is most needed — out there where people are really hurting — would have been just the sort of life-saving decision by council for which our pensioners and the destitute are crying out daily,” added Winterbach.

He said that using the City Hall as a venue and cutting back on catering would have saved the council at least R1,1 million.

The State of the City Address is one of the ways in which the mayor provides feedback to the community and accounts for commitments made in the previous year.

This year was the first year an opposition political party formally requested for the breakdown of the budget.

“I’m very sorry to say, this year’s Soca, for the DA, was not a mayoral triumph, but rather a very sad and unnecessarily inflated attempt at playing politics at the expense of the long-suffering ratepayers and residents of Msunduzi,” said Winterbach.

He said expenditure on the State of the City Address can be, and must be, cut down to size in future years. “There are far better and more cost-effective ways of marketing our city. The DA in council will continue to do its utmost to achieve that outcome,” he said

Read more on:    msunduzi municipality  |  pietermaritzburg

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