The Democratic Alliance (DA) in eThekwini is deeply concerned about the continued perks that the municipality’s leadership continues to afford themselves, even in times of crisis.
Media reporting, confirmed by the municipal communications team, indicates that R4 million has been spent on new cars for Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, Deputy Mayor Belinda Scott and Speaker Weziwe Thusi. In ordinary times, this would be extravagant. However, given the Covid-19 pandemic and the growing cash crisis that eThekwini finds itself in, this is completely absurd.
The City Hall parking lot is already full of BMWs that can be used. Critically, projections showed that after Covid-19, 41% of Durbanites would be unemployed. The cars purchased include brand new BMW X3s, 3 series and an X5.
Residents are struggling to make ends meet and have been threatened with disconnections if they cannot pay their bills because the city desperately needs money to function. This doesn’t seem to be a concern when it comes to perks enjoyed by ANC politicians.
Answers to questions posed by DA Chief Whip Thabani Mthethwa also revealed that ANC EXCO members had been appointed new “executive assistants” shortly before lockdown. This is despite all EXCO members already having personal assistants and access to municipal support from line departments and Secretariat.
The municipality refused to confirm which task grade these assistants are on, but it is widely rumoured that they are on a task grade 12. If this is correct, this means they would earn between R350 000 and R470 000 a year and potentially more with a vehicle allowance.
This is the same leadership that was sent in as the ANC’s “A-team” to save the municipality after Zandile Gumede and her team were forced to resign. Unfortunately, things seem to have only gotten worse. The DA’s proposal for senior municipal leadership and full-time Councillors to take salary cuts was refused and service delivery is at an all-time low.
The DA calls on the ANC leadership to return these vehicles and save ratepayers R4 millions of much-needed municipal income. Failing this, struggling eThekwini residents must put the ANC on final notice and prepare to make sweeping changes in the 2021 elections.
‘Leaders’ who look after themselves first, even in a global pandemic, must be shown the door.