THE Greater Kokstad Municipality was criticised for not granting the South African Communist Party (SACP) the use of a community hall when they held their Thembisile Hani District launch last Saturday, October 6.The party’s district secretary, Ntlahla Zungu, said they had booked the Ward Four community hall to welcome guests at the event and initially the municipality agreed. He said, a few days before the event, they were informed that the hall was not available. After being denied use of the hall, he said they asked for a classroom at Kokstad Public Primary School, which was approved. “We wanted to use the hall for our guests to have discussions before they address SACP members at the tent. I was very disappointed with the municipality because community halls were built for public needs,” said Zungu.The party held the event at Shayamoya Sport Field with the attendance of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial SACP chairperson, James Nxumalo, and other dignitaries. Zungu believes that all parties and organisations need to be given access to community halls. “Community halls are built with tax payers money, so the public has to use them. When the municipality refuses use of community halls, the rights of people are being violated,” he said, adding that they will engage with the municipality.“The municipality is aware of the booking of the hall and the Shayamoya Sport Field by the SACP, which was approved.“The observation made was that the SACP only utilised the ground and not the hall, although the hall was also reserved as per their booking,” said Greater Kokstad Municipal spokeswoman Nthabeleng Matshoba. She further said that the municipality is not aware of the reasons as to why the hall was not being utilised. She further outlined the procedure of booking municipal facilities by the public and organised groups, including political parties. “Bookings are made at the Community and Social Services Department. A deposit amount is paid through our cashier desks within the municipality, the deposit is also paid back to the client when the facility has been utilised without any damages. The hourly rate is charged depending on the hours required by the user and the municipality will reserve the facility for the booked dates,” she said. Matshoba encouraged community members to follow the process as the municipality does not refund people when they have booked and do not cancel the booking in time.