Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

A row has erupted between the cash-strapped municipality of Blouberg and the community over a R500000 budget for a ward committee conference.

This is after the municipality allegedly spent a fortune on a three-day conference for ward committee members at the weekend.

The conference, which was aimed at discussing improved service delivery in the municipality, was criticised by members of the public as a wasteful and fruitless expenditure.

The municipality, which was rated as one of the poorest in the province, allegedly spent almost R500000 on meals and drinks at a world-class resort in Bela-Bela, almost 300 kilometres from its constituency.

The municipality allegedly paid accommodation for 290 people but only 112 turned up.

It is also alleged that the municipality spent R30000 on meals at a KFC outlet in Mokopane for the delegates.

The residents of Senwaba- rwana are spitting fire and have vowed to take the municipality to task over the expenditure.

"We want the municipality to tell us why they spent such a lot of money on food and drinks while the people they serve go to bed hungry," said Sani Mannya of the South African National Civic Organisation.

He said the money could have been spent to create jobs for the unemployed and to help fight poverty in the area.

"But instead the money benefited a few people," he said.

The incident has also sparked a brouhaha among council members who have turned against management.

Mannya said they had collected 2257 signatures from members of the public who want an urgent meeting with management to explain the expenditure.

Municipal manager Ike Makhura yesterday laughed off the suggestions that the expenditure was wasteful and fruitless.

He confirmed that R500000 had been budgeted for the conference.