The Mayor of Ethikwini Zandile Gumede and Thembinkosi Ngcobo, the head of parks, culture and recreation are in hot water after it was revealed that eThekwini municipality has set aside a budget of R1 million to celebrate 25 years of democracy, which Former President Jacob Zuma is set to pocket R200 000 in honorarium payments.
According to reports, Ngcobo tabled a report containing plans of recording Jacob Zuma and co-artists, who have not been named, to the community service committee.
According to the report, the former president and his team would be paid an honorarium of R200 000 for the city’s 25 years of Democracy celebrations.
The report also showed a R1 million budget has been set aside for the festivities.
The Mayor denied any claims regarding the deal, maintaining that it was never presented to the city’s executive committee (exco).
She told the Sunday Tribune that she only became aware of the recording in the media: “You can ask Ngcobo about that since it was raised in the committee. Probably, it will be on the agenda in the next exco meeting. At this stage, I have no knowledge of such recording,” she said.
However, she did not comment on whether she was in support or against the project.
According to reports, this is the second time Ngcobo has tried to involve Zuma in the project.
His plans of recording a Zuma album containing struggle songs were blocked when Gumede, in January, where she told the city’s executive committee that the city had no plans to record a cd.
When presenting the event to the committee, Ngcobo stated that it would be part of the Liberation Heritage Routes Project, as part of Umkhonto WeSizwe Veterans Association, which started in 2019 as a two-day symposium in Durban to preserve the liberation movement’s history.
“April represented a lot of pain for many South Africans as it was the month coloniser Jan van Riebeeck arrived in 1652, followed by the assassination of… Chris Hani in 1993. Citizens needed to learn about their local history, and the event would achieve that,” he said.
Ngcobo also revealed that Zuma would not be paid directly, but artists who worked with him, whose names were not revealed in the report, would benefit.
According to the report the R200 000 would cover transport, refreshments and documentation of struggle songs, including Jacob Zuma.
The report resulted in the knocking of heads between the Democratic Alliance (DA) and African National Congress (ANC) councillors in the chambers, which resulted in DA walking out before the conclusion of the meeting.
DA’s caucus leader for eThikwini, Nicole Gragham, labelled the event a praise-singing for the ANC at the price of taxpayers.
IFP requested more time to discuss the matter before commenting.