Councillors reject club’s R240 000 request

2016-05-20 12:20
The red-brick road around the City Hall.

The red-brick road around the City Hall. (Jonathan Burton)

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Pietermaritzzburg - Maritzburg United’s bid to get the city to fork out over R240 000 to take supporters to their away game in Potchefstroom this weekend, was met with a definite no from some councillors on Thursday.

United asked the city’s executive committee for five buses and meals to be provided for spectators who want to travel with the team to their last crucial match of the season against Jomo Cosmos tomorrow.

The quote attached to their request amounted to R244 800 for five 65-seater buses to Potchefstroom for a day trip, or R288 000 for an overnight trip.

Exco, however, turned this down and resolved to sponsor R30 000 towards the supporters’ trip, although numerous business units said they could not fund the expense.

“This is the most outrageous thing I have heard today. We already gave them R12 million with a list of conditions that they have not even abided to. Now they want us to give them this over and above the R12 million?!” said DA councillor Bill Lambert.

Fellow DA councillor Judith Lawrence said the city was “putting money in a losing institution”.

IFP councillor Ntokozo Bhengu echoed their sentiments, saying he could not support the decision to fund the supporters.

“Even when United plays in Harry Gwala, they lose. We don’t even give them a combi and they lose, so why must we give them buses?” he asked.

Bhengu created a jovial stir among the councillors at the meeting with his comments and refused to support any decision to fund United’s supporters, saying: “Even if you say we should give them R50, I will still not support this. They just lose.”

Lambert said funding the supporters would result in fruitless and wasteful expenditure and United needed to fulfil the conditions set down for them when council gave them R12 million.

He said United still had outstanding debt with the municipality and their undertaking, as part of the partnership, to build two houses had not yet been honoured.

However, some councillors suggested the city provide the supporters with two buses.

“We will not provide catering, but I think we should support Maritzburg United and send the supporters on two buses from the city. We need United in the PSL,” said ANC councillor TV Xulu.

Councillor Eunice Majola seconded Xulu’s suggestion, but council resolved that the city would fund a R30 000 sponsorship and “note” the grievances raised by those councillors who did not support the request.

• kailene.pillay@witness.co.za

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