Terror attacks cost Mbombela

MBOMBELA – Repercussions of the terror attacks in Paris last year has spread all the way to the local municipality, which last week agreed to write off the R89 000 in funds it spent on the climate change congress.

Five of Mbombela Local Municipality’s (MLM) officials and representatives were earmarked to attend the party’s climate conference in Paris between November 30 and December 11.

However, according to MLM, after the terrorist attacks in Paris killed 130 people on November 13, the trip was called off for safety reasons.
Council was asked to write off the expenditure, pertaining to deposits paid in preparation of the trip during an ordinary council meeting held on Thursday March 31.

DA councillor Mr Jo Koster contested the timing of the decision. “The real reason was that the delegation did not apply for Schengen visas,” he said and recommended that the matter be referred to the Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) to be investigated. “If you have nothing to hide, the matter should be referred to the committee,” he said.

Executive mayor Mr Sibusiso Mathonsi rubbished the rumour, saying such assumptions and hearsay would not be considered. He said they had decided that the risk following the terrorist attacks was just too great. Mathonsi added that there was no need for council to resolve to refer the matter to MPAC, as any oversight committee was free to call for any report .

“The amount needs to be written off for purposes of accountability,” he said.

Municipal spokesman Mr Joseph Ngala was not available for comment on exactly what the funds were spent on.

Mireille de Villiers

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