“Matatiele Local Municipality Troika to spend R525,440,68 on 4 days trip to South Korea"

Matatiele Local Municipality which is struggling to deliver services to the people is going to fork out half a million rand on a trip to South Korea this October.  The decision to go ahead with this trip was taken in a Special Council held at the new Council Chambers a week ago. Although some in the council dubbed the trip as just an outing but Mayor Sonwabile Mngenela defended the trip, saying that they are going there to bench mark about issues of agriculture and tourism.

Speaking on behalf of the Municipality Luncedo Walaza told The Informer that the Municipality received an invitation from South African Local Government Association (SALGA) inviting the Municipality to South Africa’s participation in the 7th World Congress and Summit of Local and Regional leaders (UCLG).

He said, the SALGA 5-years Strategy, 2022-2027commited to strengthening its role in the UCLG and its affiliated structures, to position SALGA as a leading local government association globally.

“SALGA encouraged Municipalities to attend and participate in the UCLG World Congress and Summit as it is attended by representatives of international systems and the United Nations to local, regional and national leaders, to representatives from NGOs and the civil society, co-creating the solutions that our planet needs.

The summit will be attended by Four (4) delegates from the Municipality which is made up of Three (3) councillors (the Mayor, Speaker and Chief Whip) and one official (the Acting Municipal Manager).

It is worth mentioning that Matatiele Local Municipality is a member or affiliates under SALGA hence the invitation from this body”, concluded Walaza.

Commenting about this trip’s importance to the Municipality, Walaza said, as part of ensuring that the municipal vision is realized which says “Where nature, agriculture and tourism are investments of choice”, this platform is seen as one of the engagements and partnerships the municipality is planning to undertake with the aim of marketing Matatiele as the destination of choice. This cannot be achieved if the leadership does not engage with other strategic partners and some will be part of this session in South Korea.

It is reported that the Mayor Sonwabile Mngenela, Speaker Nonzwakazi Ngwanya, Chief Whip Nomonde Nkukhu and The acting Municipal Manager Thabiso Ntsalla will represent Matatiele Local Municipality in this congress spending R525,440,68 on accommodation and travel related costs.

Commenting about the trip D.A. Councillor Wonga Potwana described the trip as just an outing and a waste of rate payers money. “As DA we have opposed the trip but the ANC used its majority to vote for the trip against us.

“This is a conference of Local Government Structures of the world to elect their leadership. This therefore means presidents of Local Government Associations from different countries are going to vote for the leadership of the International Association of Local Government. Unfortunately the four people that are said to be representing our municipality to this congress are not going to vote. Only the president of Salga is going to cast a vote there. So why are we wasting half a million rands on something that is not important for our people”? asked Potwana.

The other political party that could not agree with this trip was the EFF. Chief Whip Siseko Sikhafungana said the money could have been used in more better things than troika’s useless trip. “The Municipality is battling to give lights to the residents, the town is dirty and there are no roads and bridges but people are enjoying useless trips using public funds”, concluded Sikhafunga

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