Row over fund­ing

The Rep - - NEWS - By Sonja Raasch

THE Chris Hani Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity has spo­ken out about dis­sat­is­fac­tion over its sup­port of tourism or­gan­i­sa­tions, with spokesman Thobeka Mqamelo this week say­ing that such fund­ing was dis­cre­tionary.

David Fourie of the Tsol­wana tourism or­gan­i­sa­tion re­cently in­di­cated that fund­ing was owed to tourism bod­ies in the Chris Hani dis­trict while the the Tsol­wana tourism or­gan­i­sa­tion, based in Tarkas­tad, had been en­quir­ing when R60000, bor­rowed by CHDM, would be re­funded. He said in a June 8 meet­ing in­volv­ing CHDM, the Tsol­wana tourism or­gan­i­sa­tion and other tourism bod­ies, the or­gan­i­sa­tions were rep­ri­manded for in­clud­ing the me­dia in their at­tempts to re­cover fund­ing from CHDM.

“A prom­ise was how­ever made to dis­trib­ute R185 000 to each tourism or­gan­i­sa­tion in the dis­trict within the week fol­low­ing the meet­ing, as well as the R60000 owed to Tsol­wana Tourism. Sadly, this prom­ise has not been de­liv­ered on, and tourism or­gan­i­sa­tions in the dis­trict have not re­ceived any fund­ing since Fe­bru­ary last year, mak­ing it very dif­fi­cult for them to per­form their func­tion, let alone con­tinue to ex­ist.”

Fourie said tourism and agri­cul­ture were the main cat­a­lysts for job cre­ation in Tsol­wana ac­cord­ing to the Cor­ri­dor Development Plan and Value Chain Anal­y­sis and In­te­gra­tion Draft Re­port of May 2011 and the 2014-15 Chris Hani In­te­grated Development Plan.

Mqamelo said CHDM sup­ported lo­cal tourism or­gan­i­sa­tions through­out the dis­trict, but that it con­sti­tuted a dis­cre­tionary grant.

“All lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and lo­cal tourism or­gan­i­sa­tions are clearly in­formed that they need to plan and bud­get ac­cord­ingly.

“Also that the dis­trict mu­nic­i­pal­ity will not sup­port dys­func­tional struc­tures or those that do not con­form to set stan­dards or do not have any planned tourism pro­grammes that they will un­der­take to pro­mote tourism in their ar­eas which is highly crit­i­cal.”

She said the Dis­trict Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion (DTO), Intsika Yethu and Eng­cobo had been paid their al­lo­ca­tions with Emalahleni, Inkwanca and Lukhanji not re­ceiv­ing their al­lo­ca­tion as the lat­ter struc­tures did not have func­tional lo­cal tourism or­gan­i­sa­tions and rel­e­vant pro­grams meant to pro­mote tourism. Mqamelo also con­firmed that the dis­trict au­thor­ity had re­quested the Tsol­wana lo­cal tourism or­gan­i­sa­tion to as­sist the DTO to cover a short­fall in the bud­get while the DTO awaited its 2014-15 fi­nan­cial year al­lo­ca­tion. She said the trans­fer of the R60 000 had been with­held due to the “un­sat­is­fac­tory man­ner in which Tsol­wana Lo­cal Tourism Of­fices con­ducts its business” the trans­fer had been with­held un­til con­cerns were ad­dressed.

Fourie ques­tioned how a business loan could not be re­paid and said how the body con­ducted its business was the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s con­cern. “Since when do gov­ern­ment en­ti­ties in­ter­fere with how or­gan­i­sa­tions are run? They are en­ti­tled to a year-plan and a fi­nan­cial au­dit, not to dic­tate how the or­gan­i­sa­tion should op­er­ate and con­duct its business.”

He said the tourism body had re­fused to al­low CHDM to con­trol Tsol­wana Tourism’s funds, as the money was not meant for the dis­trict au­thor­ity. “The role of lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties is to sup­port tourism, not to run it.” While Tsol­wana Mu­nic­i­pal­ity had com­plained to CHDM about the tourism body’s non-co­op­er­a­tion, CHDM was aware that the funds did not be­long to Tsol­wana Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

If the prob­lem per­sisted, the tourism body would be dis­solved and its func­tions taken over by the Tarka Development Group.

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