Parties over progress: Durban Tourism spending millions on the wrong comrades

Issued by Councillor Sakhile Mngadi – DA Member of the Economic Development and Planning Committee
08 Jun 2023 in Press Statements

The DA in eThekwini will formally table questions to the acting Deputy City Manager of Economic Development and Planning (ECOD), Mr Lihle Phewa and ECOD Chairperson, Councillor Thembokuhle Ntuli over concerns raised on the funding model the city is using to support events.

This comes after damning findings saw the city’s tourism office plans to sponsor a mere R375 000 to the Comrades Marathon, the largest ultra-marathon in the world and yet has in the past spent Millions for booze filled parties that bring very little if any return on investment for the city.

The DA in the city has over the last three years raised concerns over the way Durban Tourism utilized its R16 m events budgets. While we understand that the role of Durban Tourism is to market the city as an attraction, the DA is not convinced that funding parties and lavish gala dinners which constitute a huge portion of the budget is not the way to go given the decline in tourism in the municipality and Durban’s tourism offerings.

The DA has proposed that the city look to funding sustainable events with a proven track record of drawing in crowds and generating revenue. It is thus very concerning to learn that these events are receiving breadcrumbs while ANC- connected event’s organisers are receiving millions of ratepayers monies to host these lavish parties.

Just last month, the same unit had proposed to host R16 000 a day meetings at the exclusive whiskey and cigar lounge, the Pencil.

It is now becoming clear that as we approach 2024 the ANC in eThekwini is going to do everything in its power to ensure cadres and the wrong comrades are fully funded so that they realise their local election ambitions.

The DA will not stand by and watch as this city funds the wrong comrades. ECOD Chairperson must also account for why the city is giving R3 million to the Woza Durban New Year’s Party and a tenth of that amount to a much bigger event like the comrades marathon. He must also account for return in investment or the lack there of looking at the performance of these parties in previous years.