Outcry over MECs bash

THE outcry from opposition partiesover the millions of rands of taxpayers' money spent on the swearing in of MECs and the inauguration of Premier Zweli Mkhize in May continued yesterday.

The ceremony was attended by thousands of people bussed to the event - held at Woodburn Stadium in Pietermaritzburg.

A gala dinner at the Royal Showgrounds concluded theinauguration programme. The swearing-in ceremony and the gala dinner cost a total of R10,6million. Of this, R7,9million was paid to Lindelani Mkhize Entertainment (no relation to the premier).

The rest of the money was used for marketing the event, catering , branding material and hiring the venue.

DA leader in the provincial legislature John Steenhuisen said the event was an "exaggeration" - given that the province sits with a R4billion debt caused by "overspending and corruption".

In response, Mkhize said: "We are satisfied the high level of enthusiasm signalled a great demand for public involvement in the inauguration and that we got value for money."

Cope's provincial leader Siyanda Mhlongo said: "Even if President Zuma decided to fly economy to save funds it will be a drop in the ocean if others in government continue with their lavish lifestyles in the recession."