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eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede champions ‘Thuma Mina’ during budget speech

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eThekwini Municipality mayor Zandile Gumede used her budget speech to promote President Ramaphosa’s ‘Thuma Mina’ philosophy.

While presenting the city’s R50.6 billion 2019/2020 budget speech on Wednesday, 29 May 2019, mayor Zandile Gumede used the opportunity to also remind the country of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ‘Thuma Mina’ mandate.

“When you see poverty, hunger and unemployment, just raise your hand and say Thuma Mina! If you see our streets not being cleaned, rubbish piling up and our trees not being cut; raise your hand and say, ‘send me’.

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“When you see maladministration, corruption, lack of service delivery and laziness, just raise your hand and say, ‘send me’. We must together respond to the call,” said Gumede.

Gumede, who is currently out on R50 000 bail after she had allegedly irregularly signed off a lease for 48 cars, was addressing a full council meeting at the Durban City Hall. Her presentation of the city’s budget was subsequently slammed by opposition parties.

In her presentation, Gumede bore bad news for eThekwini taxpayers, who will see a 6.7 percent increase in rates and a 13.07 percent increase in water tariffs. However, pensioners, child-headed households, disability grantees and the medically boarded are exempt from paying rates. She announced that a large sum of the budget, R42.8 billion, had been allocated to operational costs such as infrastructure maintenance and repairs.

“As the most caring and liveable city, we have tried to cushion our ratepayers and customers because we understand the current state of our economy,” said Gumede.

Proceedings got off to a rather unstable start when the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) called a pause to the presentation, saying that Gumede should not be presenting the budget as she currently faces fraud-related charges.

“For the first time, we decided not to support the budget due to the increase in electricity and water [prices]. It is above the inflation rate, so ordinary people can’t afford it,” said the IFP’s Mdu Nkosi. The Democratic Alliance (DA) conceded with the IFP, expressing its disappointment in how the budget was allocated.

Despite disruptions from opposition parties, Gumede successfully delivered her budget speech.

Abenathi Gqomo

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