In a bid to stop unwarranted, unnecessary and wasteful expenditure within the Directorate, the Democratic Alliance raised a motion of Exigency at the Sport, Recreation & Culture Standing Committee meeting held on Friday, 15th June, 2012.
The ANC called for a short Caucus to discuss the matter and although the motion was approved for debate, it was only to be discussed at the end of the meeting, although the matters raised covered three items on the agenda.
During the meeting, these three items were approved, despite the objections raised by the DA members, as the ANC and the ACDP colluded to push these through by 5 votes to four on each item. The Diva Concert (R600 000), National Book Week (R750 000) and Heritage Month (R300 000) proposals were approved, totalling R1 650 000, despite the valid arguments against this unnecessary expenditure raised by DA councillors Andrew Whitfield, Morne Steyn and myself.
Officials put forward some lame reasons in support of the proposals, such as the need for concerts, the need to assist five local artists, etc, but we noted that non-service delivery expenditure within this Directorate has reached alarming proportions and officials cannot be allowed to continue as if there are no financial restraints facing the residents of this Metro. We pleaded for common sense to prevail and requested that any expenditure must be service delivery related.
Despite the Metro’s current financial predicament, and the recent call by the CFO to curtail costs and international travel, we noted that this directorate continues to spend a fortune on travel, including a Director of EDTA and others who recently spent a week in New York, and the fact that four lifeguards are currently in Germany on a month-long exchange programme.
The DA councillors pleaded that the committee direct these funds to purposeful and necessary items, such as ensuring that Municipal Libraries be properly staffed and kept open for longer hours, that sufficient Books be purchased for these libraries, that all Heritage sites be properly maintained, that more lifeguards be appointed for both Beaches and Pools, that adequate Learn to swim programmes be implemented, etc.
In short, we proposed that all expenditure should be for specific service delivery, which would benefit all the residents of this Metro. The ANC brushed these arguments aside, and, supported by the lone ACDP councillor, pushed these unwarranted proposals through.
Good corporate governance appears to have been discarded at this Directorate and there appears to be total disregard for prudent financial management. The DA requested that the financial affairs of the Directorate, including an audit of all travel expenditure, be conducted, and it was agreed that Internal Audit will present a report to the next meeting.
The DA will continue to fight for financial prudence and common sense within this Directorate.
Cllr Stanford Slabbert
082 9900 907
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