Saneliswe Shamase
2 minute read
3 Nov 2010

Another overseas trip for uMvoti’s jet-set mayor

Saneliswe Shamase

UMVOTI Mayor Petros Ngubane is set to jet off to Thailand for a third time later this month — his fifth overseas trip in four years....

UMVOTI Mayor Petros Ngubane is set to jet off to Thailand for a third time later this month — his fifth overseas trip in four years.

A minuted executive committee meeting last Wednesday shows that ANC councillor Titus Ngubane went on record to state that his party opposes the trip to Thailand because municipal residents will not benefit and the expense is not justified.

Ironically, uMvoti speaker Hitla Maharaj is also going on the trip, but unlike Ngubane, he will be doing so from his own pocket.

Ngubane admitted that the municipality is funding the trip at a cost of R14 000 but said the trip is justified and the cost is minimal.

“I can’t fail my people by not going there,” he said.

Ngubane said this trip will be a study tour focusing on disaster management.

The trip will be Ngubane’s third to Thailand for disaster management purposes. He first went there in 2006 and again this year.

He went to China in 2002 and 2009. Reports in The Greytown Gazette said it is doubtful that residents benefited from the trips.

Asked about reports, Ngubane said there are “different types of disasters … [and] you can’t study them enough”.

He said the trip will take place from November 21 to 27.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, Democratic Alliance councillor Paul Buss said his party is completely against the trip.

“It is ridiculous to hear that our mayor plans another overseas trip. This coming trip to Thailand will be his fifth trip overseas in four years with no tangible benefits to our community.”

Buss said that to make matters worse, the expenses for the trip have not been budgeted for.

“… our financial situation does not allow it and the DA condemns it and the entire community should regard this as wasteful expenditure,” he said.

Earlier this month, the ANC in the council, which is led by the Inkatha Freedom Party, accused the IFP of mismanaging council funds by setting aside R500 000 to buy Ngubane a new vehicle next year.

Ngubane denied this.

The accusations came in the wake of a council meeting that revealed that uMvoti had spent R14 million more this financial year in comparison with 2009 and much of this was spent on general expenses such as overseas trips to China and entertainment.