‘Another Nkandla saga’ - IFP
THE uMhlathuze IFP has urged city Mayor Mduduzi Mhlongo to prioritise service delivery instead of building himself a guest house at the expense of taxpayers.
Addressing the media at their Empangeni offices last week, IFP Member of Parliament Xolani Ngwezi said his party was willing to halt construction of the R5,5-million guest house since there was no financial stability in the municipality.
‘This money should instead be used to build RDP houses for the needy communities around uMhlathuze. As the IFP we strongly object to this unnecessary expenditure.
‘According to the Government Gazette of 2014/2015, provision is made for mayors’ accommodation.
‘However, financial availability is a priority and the housing backlog for community, water and sanitation, roads and other services should be considered first before taking such a decision,’ said Ngwezi.
‘Rumours have it that R5.5-million was budgeted in the 2014/2015 financial year for the mayoral house, but we are now in the 2018/2019 financial year and are saddled with a very tight budget.
‘This money can build about 55 RDP houses for poor people, and we believe that the mayor must lead by example by staying in his own house and heed the call of his government on cost cutting measures.’
‘As the IFP we view this as another ‘Nkandla saga’ in the City of uMhlathuze.
‘There are many people that really need houses. Some are living in shacks in various settlements around the city, yet the municipality is using so much money to benefit only one person.
The party also expressed its concern over the abuse of overtime pay to officials.
‘The Council took a resolution to institute an inquiry into the R10,8-million paid for overtime to certain employees. We have been inquiring about the release of the report, but nothing has been forthcoming. The public needs to know who these employees are,’ Ngwezi said.
Municipal Communications Manager Mdu Ncalane said the questioning of the house was unfortunate.
‘The house belongs to the City of uMhlathuze and is not a private residence for the mayor. The house will be used to host potential investors and that’s why it is built in an upmarket area.
‘We are working according to the Government Gazette and are operating within the law. That’s why we have received clean audits for five consecutive years,’ he said.
Ncalane also indicated that IFP councillors were present when a full council meeting took a resolution to institute an investigation against the DA Councillor Botha for malicious allegations against the city and the mayor.
‘I think politicians should avoid making themselves housing experts and stick to politics.’
Leading the media conference are uMhlathuze IFP leaders Deputy Secretary Zakhele Mthembu, NEC member Xolani Ngwezi, Secretary Jabulani Nzuza and Deputy Chairperson Mkhonzeni Mthethwa Muzi Zincume