EThekwini Mayor denies reports of lavish cruise for councillors

James Nxumalo has denied reports that he had planned a conference at sea take place this weekend.

FILE: Durban Mayor James Nxumalo. Picture : Vumani Mkize/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - EThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo said reports that the local municipality is planning to take 40 councillors on an expensive boat cruise for a conference are a smear campaign ahead of the local government elections.

Yesterday, reports emerged that the conference at sea was due to take place this weekend and would reportedly cost around R160,000.

It's understood the trip to the Portuguese islands, just off the coast of Mozambique, was organised by the eThekwini Maritime Cluster, the municipality and Tourism KwaZulu-Natal.

Nxumalo said the cruise was merely recommended by the KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development Planning Committee but not presented to the municipality and no councillors have been registered to attend.

The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in Durban yesterday responded to the reports of the cruise by saying it will be reckless for a municipality to organise such an opulent excursion over the voter registration weekend.

ANCYL secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo said, "Now you want to go on some lavish holiday while other people are working to secure your seats in council."

Sabelo added that the amount of money could be used to finance up to six university students.

"Especially because in institutions of higher learning as we speak, we're already having a crisis."

The Inkatha Freedom Party has also condemned the report, saying the trip will be nothing more than a wasteful expenditure.