THE municipality’s proposal to spend R900 000 on an Ukhozi FM Nyusi’ivolume annual festival came under fire again during a recent Executive Committee meeting.
The Democratic Alliance stuck by its earlier decision to object to the expenditure, despite the amount being reduced by R100 000.
DA caucus leader Bill Lambert suggested the money be spent on fixing the dilapidated state-of-the-art Moses Mabhida multipurpose centre that has been ruined by vandals even before it was in use.
He said the municipality had “just come out of the intensive care unit” and they did not need to sponsor “an almost one-night-stand” festival.
Another DA Exco member, Mergan Chetty, said they did not support the irresponsible spending of the initially proposed R1,1 million for a one-day fanfare and the squandering of ratepayers’ money on music festivals. He said the money should rather be spent on the core business of the municipality.
Chetty said the expenditure was disrespectful to the many people drowned at the Woodhouse Road low-level bridge and to the residents of Sobantu. “I am proposing that this council gives serious consideration to re-allocating the R1,1 million recommended for the Ukhozi FM festival to be spent on the construction of a much-needed and promised Woodhouse Road bridge,” he said.
He said the city had already spent R1,8 million for the 175th year commemoration of the city but “there isn’t anything tangible that in 10 years’ time, we can sit back and proudly claim that that was the legacy of our 175-year celebrations.
“I believe that the construction of the bridge with this funding should commemorate the 175-year anniversary as a legacy project,” he said.
Chetty said it also worried him that the proposed figure for the festival was forecast in 2011 and could possibly be a lot more currently.
ANC Exco member Thulani Xulu said the infrastructure portfolio committee was already discussing measures to raise funds to build the bridge and believed that the funding of the Ukhozi FM festival should go ahead because it was an important event that raised important social awareness issues. “I believe that it is good news that the amount had been reduced and we hope that our officials will still be able to reduce the funds,” he said.
Mayor Chris Ndlela told Chetty he shouldn’t score cheap political points on a sensitive matter of the low-level bridge because families of the deceased might not be happy about it. “Our officials are already working to raise funds to build the bridge.”