DURBAN MUNICIPALITY IN OVERSPENDING ROW
By: Gift Nyamapfene
The Durban Municipality is currently facing intense criticism for unnecessary spending.
Yesterday, the Executive Committee (EXCO) announced that it had rectified the spending of more than R1 million for the unveiling of the Cornubia Human Settlement’s project held last month.
A report containing details of the spending showed that more than R1 million was spent directly for transport and publicity costs. The report stated that there was a “contingency” allocation of almost R2 million which City Manager Sbusiso Sithole claimed was for “unforeseen expenditure”.
Democratic Alliance’s Heinz de Boer said that a contingency of almost twice the stated costs was outrageous and claimed that the event of the unveiling of Cornubia was an ANC rally.
The municipality has failed to explain how the R2 million excess was spent. Meanwhile, the DA leadership protested and demanded that a full report on the spending be tabled.
Sithole said the spending was justified and would be proven necessary in a full report to be submitted to EXCO.
“The actual amount spent could be far lesser than the budgeted figure. We will submit a report to EXCO giving the breakdown of the actual costs,” said Sithole.
IFP Durban caucus leader Mdu Nkosi last week questioned the spending of more than R100 000 on a mayoral trip to Gabon. Nkosi said that the council ought to review the importance of the visit to the city. Opposition councilors suggested that the expense of the international visit be directed to service delivery instead.
The trip is part of the municipality’s Sister City programme. In a heated debate about the travel expenditure, Mayor James Nxumalo said money was not an issue.
“We have enough money,” he said.
Yesterday EXCO announced its plan to spend another estimated amount of R2 million to replace six vehicles and upgrade the mayoral fleet. The initiative is expected to worsen tensions in the council.
Sithole praised the fleet upgrade and claimed the municipality’s vehicles are of much less value than ones being used by other municipalities.