Poster for the Games
Poster for the Games

The Greater Tzaneen Municipality (GTM) will spend your money to send 125 of their employees on paid leave to Botswana this weekend. This is to take part in the annual Southern African Inter-Municipal Sports Association (SAIMSA) Games which will be hosted in Gaborone from the 3rd to the 8th of September.

The GTM however deny that actual taxpayer monies will be used to sponsor the trip and the accommodation for these municipal workers and the six Councillors who will accompany them. According to them, the money for this trip was raised through various fundraisers and sponsorship – however, none of the sponsors or the various fundraising projects were named.

Bulletin sent an inquiry to the spokesperson for the municipality to gain clarity on the matter and we wanted a list of the fundraising projects and sponsors as well as the total amount that the Botswana holiday will costs these prime athletes.

We find it ironic too that the municipality would agree to spend a significant amount of money on sports participation under the guise of “employee wellness” when the sports facilities in their own town steadily fall into decay.

In fact, were it not for private citizen intervention, the local tennis courts, netball courts, squash courts and municipal swimming pool facilities would be non-existent.

Neighbouring municipal workers from Duiwelskloof will also be attending the games. The Greater Letaba Municipality (GLM) indicated in a report that they had made available an amount of R2,1 million from the sport programme and R307 941 from the employee wellness programme to fund the trip for an estimated 78 of their employees and eight members of their Corporate and Shared Services Portfolio Committee.

The Greater Tzaneen Municipality recommended the participation of 115 of their employees and that all participants be granted paid leave.  The mayor, municipal manager, community services director and their sports manager will accompany the team to the games.

Although the actual figures have not been made public, logic dictates that at least R3 million will be spent on the contingent and their Spring holiday.

“The SAIMISA (Southern Inter-Municipal Sports Association) games designed for municipal employees to participate and compete will be held from the 3rd to 8th of September in Botswana, Gaborone Municipality,” explained Vutivi Makhuvele, spokesperson for the GTM. “The GTM will send 125 people employees to attend who participate in various sporting codes. The trip is financed mainly through monthly contributions made by the sports participants deducted from their salaries. The sponsors wish to remain anonymous.”

We find it unacceptable that in a municipality wrought with failing infrastructure, petty crime and a lack of a basic maintenance programme, millions can be spent on something as trivial as informal soccer and board games.