CITY BUDGET MEETING TURNS WILD
By: Gift Nyamapfene
This is what disrupted eThekwini’s R30 billion city council budget meeting held in KwaMashu Thursday.
SAPS and private security barred Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) supporters from entering Rotary Stadium where the budget consultations were held because they were wearing party regalia. This led to chaos as IFP councillors in the meeting demanded that the Municipal speaker, Logie Naidoo, urgently attend to the issue that he persistently refused to entertain.
The IFP and DA accused Naidoo of being bias.
IFP caucus leader for Durban, Mdu Nkosi said, “People have to be allowed to come in with their t-shirts. They (ANC) are afraid because it’s not their stronghold.”
Nkosi said in a meeting held last month in Umbumbulu, where ANC is popular, that people were allowed to participate in party regalia and now the speaker was allegedly politically biased in KwaMashu.
Naidoo insisted that members of the Executive Committee (EXCO) had decided last week that the public should not bring party regalia to municipal public consultations and the IFP’s point of order was mute.
The DA said it was not surprised by the disruption.
DA EXCO member, Heinz de Boer said, “We knew that this was going to happen. We raised the issue with both the speaker and the mayor at the Executive Committee. It (KwaMashu) is already a high political tension area and several people have been killed here.”
“We come here and debate issues and we fight politically but people might take it to heart and when we leave, the fighting will continue in the community and that was our concern,” he said.
The IFP and DA walked out of the meeting after constant disagreement while Naidoo and City Manager Sibusiso Sithole continued conducting the meeting nonetheless.
Mayor James Nxumalo said that he was shocked by IFP’s conduct.
“They were arrogant. We want to condemn this as the council. This is not the way we are supposed to conduct ourselves as leaders of political parties,” he said.
Heinz de Boer said that a solution to the matter would be to conduct public meetings at City Hall where there is space and high security. He added that members of the public who are interested could then use free municipaltransport and it is cheaper than the outreach program that the council is currently running.