President’s R250 000 honour raises a stink

2011-07-16 16:14

Opposition parties and community activists have slammed the Makana municipality in Grahamstown for spending R250 000 this week to honour President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma arrived in the Eastern Cape town on Wednesday morning and was honoured at the City Hall with the South African National Defence Force band entertaining the audience.

The municipality approved the expenditure to honour Zuma for “outstanding leadership, stewardship and contributing to the improvement of the quality of life of people” and “his role in South Africa hosting a successful World Cup”.

The budget was used to cover only the costs of the formal ceremony.

This wasn’t the only honour from the municipality to the president – it also intends changing the name of the main road in town, Raglan Road, to Dr Jacob Zuma Drive.

Grahamstown municipality was among those which received a “worst audit opinion” from Auditor-General Terence Nombembe for 2009/10.

Spokesperson for the municipality Thandy Matebese said public participation in the road-naming scheme had already started and that the proposal would soon be tabled before the council for approval.

Xolani Madyo, a DA councillor, said: “Zuma has done nothing for the Makana municipality.”

The Unemployed People’s Movement in the town said: “There is a need for proper housing, water and sanitation and [a solution to] unemployment in the municipality.”

Matebese added that the municipality had approved R2.6 million to replace all 206 bucket toilets in the town with proper ones.

In his findings, the auditor-general said the municipality had not taken all reasonable steps to ensure unauthorised, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure was prevented. He also found that it understated its irregular expenditure by about R20 million and could not account for assets worth more than R9 million.

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