ANC and IFP councillors in the Msunduzi Municipality are not giving up their tea and biscuits at meetings, despite an appeal from the DA’s Judy Lawrence to cut down on refreshments and give the money to the poor.
Lawrence submitted a private member’s motion that in light of rising food costs and growing unemployment, council should reduce its refreshment bill and other entertainment costs and donate the savings to the municipality’s poverty relief programmes.
The ANC’s Najma Ahmed said councillors sit for long hours at meetings and often go straight from work to attend meetings, so they deserve their tea and biscuits.
She added that as individuals they contribute to poverty relief programmes.
Executive Committee member Themba Zungu said that if Lawrence feels so strongly about poverty, she should donate her council salary to charity.
The IFP’s Candy Seymour said she appreciated the sentiment of the motion, but asked what difference a few biscuits make.
Deputy Mayor Mervin Dirks told Lawrence that her heart is in the right place, but she shouldn’t have mentioned tea and biscuits, which was sure to rile councillors.
He suggested she re-submit her motion, leaving out the tea and biscuits.
He added that ANC councillors are not averse to giving to charity and they give generously to poverty programmes.
“I for one give thousands of rands away,” said Dirks.
Lawrence said she was not asking for all refreshments to be stopped, but wants a review of the situation to see where savings can be made.
“There are people out there with no food,” she said.