The cash strapped Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is planning to fund 20 years of Democracy celebrations to the tune of R15 million while many poor communities continue to suffer from a lack of basic services.
The decision from National Cabinet, to hold celebrations should be welcomed; however the funding should also come from Cabinet so that cash strapped municipalities like the Metro and Kouga do not bear the cost.
There are also question marks around the misuse of this money for party electioneering purposes, for example the printing of tens of thousands of T-shirts in ANC colours.
In an item to be tabled before Council (which was leaked to the DA) a budget of R 15 080 212.25 has been requested to fund the celebration of 20 Years of Democracy.
In the same item it says: “Municipalities are encouraged to plan modest celebrations, which would not burden expenditure patterns but achieve a great impact”.
Furthermore National Treasury has written to Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality specifically calling for all non-priority expenditure on celebrations to come to a stop.
No amount was budgeted for these celebrations in the original budget and there is no doubt that services to all communities will be affected as budget cuts from various departments, such as sanitation, will take place.
“The DA supports the celebration of democracy but will never agree to such an unaffordable budget of R 15 Million while our poorest residents are still awaiting basic services such as proper housing, refuse collection, water, electricity and sanitation,”said Leon de Villers from the DA.
De Villiers added that It is amazing that the ANC led Council can find an amount of R15 million to spend on celebrations but can’t find R9 million to eradicate the more than 23 000 bucket toilets being used throughout the Metro.