Today’s council agenda included an item requesting the council to support U15 athletes to a international tournament to Daejeon, South Korea and requesting that council approve that two councillor accompany the athletes. The DA requested that the item be amended to remove the two councillors, the ANC voted it down and counter proposed that the number of councillors be increased to 5.
This was my impromptu address to council on the matter:
We support the event. We support our youth. We support our athletes competing in the international arena. We would have supported the motion as tabled in order to ensure that the young athletes still got the support they need despite the waste of sending two councillors along as well.
We cannot support this amendment because we refuse to support wasting even more funds by sending more councillors on holidays.
What are we telling the citizens of this city present at this meeting and all those we were elected to represent when we waste more of our desperately needed council funds on sending well paid councillors on overseas holidays for no apparent reason?
We are simply wasting money for seemingly no reason but to spite other political parties. I wonder whether this amendment would ever have been tabled had the DA not opposed the sending of two councillors.
Our councillors are among the best paid in the country, we regularly receive clothing, accessories and free tickets from council. Councillors are fed at every meeting we attend and now we must explain to the people of eThekwini, many waiting for delivery because of shortage of funds, that we want to waste hundreds of thousands of rands sending councillors on an overseas trip when their real work is right here in our backyard.
This is not a proposal for councillors to investigate best practice in another municipality abroad. Our councillors will be accompanying athletes abroad. Why?
This is merely the ANC abusing their majority to send some councillors on a holiday. This is a holiday party sponsored by the ANC majority in this council which has been thinly disguised as support for a youth delegation to an international tournament, and we will not support it.
We rest in the knowledge that by the ANC forcing this item through council, the young athletes will still get the support they need but we will not be party to such wasted expenditure.