Stop spending on food, travel - DA

Party vows to reject Bay adjustments budget if costs are not contained

The Nelson Mandela Bay council File Image
The Nelson Mandela Bay council File Image
Image: Siyamtanda Capa

The DA in Nelson Mandela Bay has vowed it would not support the adjustments budget if the governing coalition does not curtail its spending on food, travel and accommodation.

The threat to reject the adjustments budget, set to be tabled in the council next Thursday, follows a revelation that the municipality has spent nearly half a million rand on catering between October 2 and December 13.

In January HeraldLIVE reported that various departments spent a collective R244,059.45 on catering between August 29 and October 4.

The adjustments budget will afford the municipality the opportunity to revise its annual budget and possibly divert money to other projects.

The ANC and its coalition partners UDM, AIC and United Front would still be able to pass the adjustments budget if they have the backing of the EFF.

In a written response to questions from Odendaal, the municipality revealed had also spent :

- R807 637 on flights between August and December

- R1,68 million on accommodation between August and December 2018

- R82 967 on general car hire and; and

- R65000 on a hired car for speaker Buyelwa Mafaya.

the DA cannot in good conscience support this budget whilst you continue to allow the fragrant abuse of public funds
Retief Odendaal

In a letter to mayor Mongameli Bobani and budget and treasury portfolio head Mkhuseli Mtsila, Odendaal said: “Whilst there are moves afoot to seriously curtail government expenditure at a national certainly seems as if Nelson Mandela Bay is ramping up spending on frivolous, non-service delivery related goods and services.

“This is a wholly unacceptable state of affairs and I implore you to find your voice with regards to such unnecessary wasteful expenditure.”

Odendaal added: “I now wish to place on the record that the DA cannot in good conscience support this budget whilst you continue to allow the fragrant abuse of public funds as is highlighted.”

Chief whip of council Bicks Ndoni (ANC) said not supporting the adjustments budget would be irresponsible.

"The response has detailed that the money included both councillors and officials - councillors are not moving up and down," Ndoni said.

Ndoni however said he had no details around why a car was hired for Mafaya.

"We will have to wait and see. [Odendaal] is on record saying in committee that they would be responsible and not oppose things for the sake of opposing; they said they want the city to go forward.

"I thought they had changed the minds on how they do things, but it is up to them because there are things that have to be done that are service delivery related."

"We will be looking at how the budget has been spent so far, it would be irresponsible not to support the adjustments budget," Ndoni said.