We’re being told to brace up and anticipate further hardship, South Africa is tanking, they said. We can’t afford certain luxuries and unnecessary expenditure, we’ll be taxed more and even our sugar wouldn’t be left alone, how then can eThekwini Municipality afford to send Councillors on Cruise?
Report has it that the Municipality is sending a large delegation on a three-day cruise, and they will sail on luxurious MSC Sinfonia to Portuguese Island, Mozambique.
As gathered, 40 Councillors in the economic development and planning committee, along with other officials were invited to the “cruise conference”.
Ironic huh? A committee meant to plan for economic development ought to know more than any other being that South Africa is battling economic demons and cannot be tasked to sponsor cruising Councillors.
Anyway, there’s an excuse for the cruise. Spokeswoman Tozi Mthethwa pointed out that no waste will be involved as due consideration was given to the cost, and a cost comparison done to assure that.
“It should be noted that the cost per person is in comparison to the total cost of municipal representatives travelling to Johannesburg to attend a conference for the day,” she said, and explained that the cruise is meant to boost “the city’s flailing cruise industry visitor numbers and to facilitating enterprise development and job creation”.
Meanwhile, the nine DA Councillors in the economic development committee will boycott the cruise which they described as “free holiday”.
One of them – Nicole Graham said, “whilst we understand the need to focus on the maritime industry in Durban, this can easily be done without a free holiday and in a way that actually addresses the issues.”
According to her, there’s a “state of absolute dysfunction” in the municipality and the “money could and should be used to address that. If any Councillor wants to go on a cruise, they should use the salary that they earn and pay for it themselves,” Graham opined.
Similarly, MF Councillor Patrick Pillay commented that he was “appalled at the suggestion of the lavish outing”. He described the cruise as a “slap in the face of the austerity measures” proposed by the Finance minister. “It’s about time the municipality wakes up to Treasury’s alarm bells,” he added.