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DURBAN – The eThekwini Municipality has set aside a budget of R1 million to celebrate 25 years of democracy, among which, former president Jacob Zuma will get more than R200 000 in honorarium payments.
The event will take place in April and will also see the city pay Zuma and his co-artists more than R200 000 in honorarium payments. The names of the co-artists were not revealed in the report.
Zuma is set to be tasked with documenting Struggle songs with various artists. The report containing the details of the event was by tabled by eThekwini parks head Thembinkosi Ngcobo before the community service committee on Thursday.
Ngcobo said the month of April represented a lot of pain for many South Africans, as it was the month which saw the arrival of coloniser Jan van Riebeck in 1652 and also followed the assassination of former SACP leader Chris Hani in 1993. He said citizens needed to learn about their local history and the event would do that.
This is Ngcobo’s second elaborate bid to involve Zuma in eThekwini affairs.
In January, Ngcobo’s plans to record a Zuma CD containing Struggle songs were blocked when eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede told the city’s executive committee that the city had no plans to record such a CD. The mayor said the idea, which Ngcobo was championing, had never been brought to council.
Explaining the event, Ngcobo said it was part of the ‘Liberation Heritage Routes Project’. He said it was started in 2009 when the uMkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) held a two day symposium in Durban to preserve the liberation heritage history in Durban.
“The overall objective of this project is to co-ordinate the collection and collecting of information about the experiences of former liberation Struggle soldiers, including Zuma and other former presidents. This project focuses on researching, documenting, analysing and preserving the heritage of struggle heroes and heroines,” he said.
Ngcobo said the former president would be paid directly, but artist who will work with him would also benefit. The names of the artists were not revealed in the report.
The report states that the R200 000 would cover transport, refreshments and the documentation of liberation songs by various artists including Zuma.
The DA rejected the report saying it was a grandstanding tactics as elections are fast approaching.
Nicole Graham, the DA’s eThekwini caucus leader, said the event was about praise singing the ANC by using ratepayers money.
“It’s an ANC internal grandstanding and campaigning for the elections. No council money should be used for such even, ” said.
The item caused a heated argument between the ANC and DA councillors in the chamber which saw the DA members walking out before the meeting was concluded.
The IFP asked for more time to caucus before they made inputs. The report was adopted by the ANC’s majority vote.
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