The eThekwini Municipality is currently under fire after it emerged that the municipality forked out a whopping R761 150 for the funeral of President Zuma’s most vocal supporter Don Mkhwanazi.
Mkhwanazi, a KZN entrepreneur is the pioneer of Black Economic Empowerment. He died in July at the age of 63 after a heart attack.
The funeral cost of the heavily politically connected businessman came to light; after an item containing the expenditure was presented to the city’s executive committee (Exco) on Wednesday.
The executive committee received the item as part approval for expenditure that occurred during the election recess. In the said item, it was on recorded that the municipality lavished R761 150 on hiring the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre for a day.
Opposition Parties In eThekwini Municipality Unhappy With The Funeral Cost
Infuriated at the amount of money spent on Mkhwanazi’s funeral; DA Caucus leader, Zwakele Mncwango, slammed the municipality for using public funds to support a public funeral of a businessperson.
Suspecting a shady deal, Mncwango asserted that the money must be accounted for since Mkhwanazi died before the election recess; and R500 000 was earlier requested for his funeral.
“We sometimes fight over R200 000 spent on a councillor (burial) but now you tell us you spent R761 000 on a funeral. How do I go to the public and explain this? I can’t,” Mncwango said.
The DA leader lamented that many poor families; who come to the city for help to bury their loved ones are turned down. He wondered how the public would react to the news.
IFP’s Mdu Nkosi insisted that there must be a breakdown of how money was spent because there seems to be something fishy about the whole deal.
“I’m trying to understand how you can explain this. How you could pay so much towards a person who has got a lot of money,” he queried.
When pressed for details on the high cost of hiring the ICC for a day and for a breakdown; mayor Zandile Gumede and eThekwini municipality manager, Sibusiso Sithole requested for the matter to be postponed so officials could write a report on it.
However, Sithole likened Mkhwanazi’s funeral to almost a national funeral; given the stature of his person. He insisted that hiring the ICC was what gulped down the money.