Councillor dismisses ‘gravy plane’ claim as ‘cheap politicking’

2010-06-28 00:00

MSUNDUZI councillor Mergan Chetty denies that he is on a gravy plane and says that an incomplete probe by council’s investigative team, in which they failed to check the paperwork, resulted in him being unfairly named and shamed.

Chetty was referring to a front -page report in The Witness of 18 June about the council’s probe into the large travel bills of former councillors. The report said there was an investigation into an overpayment of R20 000 on accommodation for Chetty on a trip to Atlanta in the U.S. in January last year.

Chetty said on Friday that he decided to respond because he has been receiving angry calls from residents ever since the article was published.

He said the matter had been raised by the Auditor-General and a response was drawn up by the head of the council’s audit division, Nathi Mhlongo, which showed that overpayment for the accommodation had been an administrative mistake.

The travel agent refunded the money to the municipality.

Chetty said the report was presented to full council, so both councillors and officials were aware that there was no overpayment.

“Municipal legislation does not allow councillors to arrange their own trips. I was selected by council to go to Atlanta and the booking was done by the administration.”

He added that, as a public representative, the damage done by “this misleading information has greater repercussions with the upcoming local government election”.

Chetty also accused DA councillor Rodger Ashe of cheap politicking. He said that Ashe, as an Exco member, should have been aware of the report tabled to council.

Ashe said he was not casting aspersions upon Chetty, but was merely questioning the report in front of him, which offered no explanation as to why more money had been paid for the accommodation.



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