On Tuesday, the Democratic Alliance said it had had voted against an item in the eThekwini executive committee to send 54 people on a trip to Brazil and Colombia.
“The trip will cost R2 million of Public Transport Network Grant funding. The delegation will consist of two councillors, 33 minibus taxi operators and representatives, 14 bus operators, and five municipal officials,” said DA caucus leader Nicole Graham.
She said they supported the development of the bus rapid transit system in Durban and recognised the urgent need for an improved public transport system, “but this should not come at a price tag that could be better used for the delivery of services”.
The city wants to use the trip to learn about how countries in South America have approached public transport challenges.
“Benchmarking and international best practice is an important part of improving our own systems, but can easily be learnt without an elaborate overseas trip,” said Graham.
“National Treasury guidelines specifically request frugality and for municipalities to cut back on overseas trips and needless expenditure. The eThekwini Transport Authority is increasingly embarking on incredibly expensive and aspirational projects that aren’t able to achieve their own targets.
“A few months ago, the city increased the budget for the Moja Cruise taxi incentive programme to a staggering R202 million, money that could be better utilised for service delivery.”