Council’s pricey meeting

2009-01-25 00:00

ANC and IFP councillors in Greytown are at each other’s throats again, this time over the IFP-led municipality’s decision to hold a council meeting at a conference venue in the Drakensberg, an exercise that cost the council about R40 000.

The ANC has said that taking the meeting to the Berg Hotel is another example of wasteful expenditure by the struggling municipality.

The Witness learnt that the council decided not to hold its last policy meeting in the council’s chambers in Greytown because of possible disruptions.

“Councillors were wandering in and out of meetings, going to shops … therefore no progress was being made. Hence, a decision was taken to move the meeting to a venue out of town,” a source told The Witness.

The initial decision was that the venue for the meeting, where important municipal policy decisions were to be made, was not to be far away from Greytown, with Wartburg emerging as a popular choice.

However, ANC councillors in the municipality said they were flabbergasted earlier this week when they received invitations informing them that the meeting was to be held in the Drakensberg over two days.

“While we as the ANC were opposed to the whole idea of taking the meeting so far away, we decided to attend nevertheless as we felt that had we not done that, we would have left the IFP with the power to freely take major decisions that will affect the people of Greytown and service delivery in the area,” an ANC member said.

The ANC claimed the IFP also “took a good few secretaries and other hangers-on” on the trip, alleging that they were people who did not need to be there.

The meetings were held on Wednesday and Thursday last week and lasted only six hours. They could have easily been held on one day to reduce the costs incurred by the council, the ANC said.

“What makes matters worse is the poor attendance by some IFP members. There were about eight rooms that were paid for but ended up not being used. Councillors are also going to claim for travelling costs, so the price could still balloon from the R38 000 spent on accommodation and the venue.”

Responding to the allegations, Umvoti Municipality speaker Hitler Maharaj said the decision to hold the meeting away was endorsed by the ANC, the IFP and the DA. He added that some councillors had said they found the meeting fruitful.

He said it was decided at the meeting that certain policies need to be amended and the policies will be adopted at the next full council.

He denied claims that there were non-municipal employees or “hangers-on” at the meeting. He said the mayor was accompanied by his personal assistant, a member of the secretariat division, and municipal managers.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.