Council row over Matola burial trip

Chester Makana

Chester Makana

The Vhembe district municipality in Limpopo has been lambasted by opposition parties for allowing its officials to travel to Mozambique for the funeral of former Black Leopards captain Fernando Matola.

The opposition parties said the trip was not only unauthorised but was also a waste of money.

Executive mayor Philemon Mdaka, senior municipal officials Alex Nemakonde and Mavhungu Leruli, and speaker Suzan Sibiya drove to Mozambique on Saturday for Matola's burial.

The trip was only announced during a special council meeting last week.

Pan Africanist Congress councillor Jabbie Ligege said there was no reason for the municipality to send officials to the funeral and this was a waste of money.

"These people have never sent condolences to anyone of the fallen South African stars or attended their funerals," said Ligege.

He said the council was not given a chance to debate the matter when it was brought before it.

Democratic Alliance councillor Jacoba Petronelle said there was a lot to do with municipal funds than to embark on a "useless" trip that would not benefit the municipality.

"Look, our people are starving. Ritual murder victims are still suffering without medication while the municipality can afford 'fun' trips," said Petronelle.

She said she was waiting with keen interest to see whether the municipality would extend the same gesture to other players if they suffered the same fate in future.

Municipal spokesman Ndivhuwo Mamathuba dismissed the claims, saying Matola's death had affected everyone in the province.

"We regret that the opposition is using an opportunity such as this one [bereavement] to create a cheap political point-scoring platform."