We are deeply concerned by what can only be described as reckless and irresponsible expenditure of municipal funds on a succession of festivals and parties. We have already given you some information on the flopped so-called Gospel Festivals held over the past 4 years at a cost of R 1.6m to the municipality, with an additional R1.2m committed for the next three years.
Unfortunately, that is only the tip of the ice berg.
At a special council meeting held on 2 November 2018 our council committed to funding three additional events to the tune of R 4.2m.
The proposals are without exception quite bizarre.
(Council Item C/6/72/11/18)
Summer Concert December 2018 (K2Squared Trading Project)
This is for a party proposed by “DJ Mjilo” which the council resolved to sponsor for this year and for three years after that at R200k per event for a total of R800k. It is to be funded from the Local Economic Development budget.
The proposer claims it will be attended by 150 000 international and national tourists spending an estimated R 5000 each on the day.
But that is not all, the growth potential is such that it will “reach 500 000 in the next 5 years.”
(150 000 people in the Kwanokuthula stadium?)
(Council Item C/6/73/11/18)
Annual Plett 24-hour Reunion Fashion Show and Beauty Pageant Project in New Horizons
A council motion was made on 2 November to fund this event in New Horizons “during October-December 2018” in the amount of R 200 000, plus R 200 000 for another three years, for a total of R800 000.
The municipal manager supported the expenditure of R 800 000 and said it should come from the Local Economic Development budget.
Council did not sponsor this one directly but referred it to “Tourism” for funding. It is not clear whether “Tourism” funded it.
(Council Item C/6/74/11/18) Honeybush Festival
A council motion was made by the Local Economic Development department to support a 3-day Honeybush Week/Festival in Feb. 2019 in the amount of R250 000, with a further three years at R250 000 each, for a total of R1 million.
It proposed to include a “bio-mimicry fashion show, farmer’s day and family activities ie mountain biking and a fun run.
The aim of the event: “The event is aimed at enhancing the honeybush learning as well as boosting tourism in Bitou municipality.” (All sic)
Council resolved that R1m over 4 years be made available “…towards the economic development of the Honey Bush Project…” The funds to come from Local Economic Development budget.
No details were given as to what the Honey Bush Project is, how the money will be spent or what the actual purpose and outcomes will be.
In all, the Bitou council, without adequate information to support their decisions and in the face of obvious BS, committed R4.2m to the above proposals.
To add insult to injury expenditure on a Year-end Mayoral Staff party (R 118,000 for food and tent alone) was approved.
Apart from the very obvious ineptitude, financial irresponsibility and ignorance displayed by the council and officials, there have been multiple breaches of the Municipal Finance Management Act, Supply Chain Management and various other legislation. This has been going on for years, (since at least 2014) with no apparent report backs, accountability, or even rationality.
Under normal circumstances these unsolicited proposals would not even make it onto a council agenda and it should not be necessary for an RPA to involve itself.
We are very concerned by the sheer waste of money and cannot in good conscience allow it to continue.
To this end we have made requests to the Hawks, National Treasury, the Auditor General and SARS to step in and investigate these matters and recover the wasted municipal funds from those concerned.