image of chalet and swimming pool at Blyde River Resort
Image of chalet and swimming pool at Blyde River Resort

Another three-day break awaits the Greater Tzaneen Municipality’s Councillors as they head off to the Forever Resorts Blyde River on the 4th of December for this year’s strategic planning session.

Last year this holiday cost Tzaneen’s ratepayers R820 000 excluding the travel costs which were reimbursed later (and caused great upset when it was discovered that some of the Councillors including a member of the official opposition party had submitted fraudulent claims for vehicles they did not own).

A reliable source within the municipality reported to Bulletin that during the last outing to Blyde in 2022, the ANC and EFF Councillors raised issues at the start of the daily meetings such as their unhappiness over sleeping arrangements and the quality of the food. “We started every day with the first hour or even two hours of the meeting addressing Councillors’ concerns over having to share a chalet with a colleague which caused them distress. A few of the Councillors complained about the fact that we only receive four different meat options with our meals every day,” our source revealed.

The source also stated that after the lunchtime break every day, only a quarter of the Councillors would return to the conference hall for the second half of the day’s session. The day would end at 16:00 after which the Councillors would spend the rest of the afternoon and evening in the bars on the resort.

One of the chalets that the councillors will be staying in during their very important strategic planning session.

“If we are set to start at 08:00 in the mornings, we start at 09:30 because the members take their time to get to the meeting and most of them are hung over or tired from the night before. Last year the security issued a stern warning to the group that they needed to control their behaviour and noise pollution after a pink piece of female underwear was found at the swimming pool.”

Our source also revealed that not only the Councillors are treated to the three-day all expenses paid break, but the various traditional leaders and Kgosi’s of the area accompany the group on the excursion. The delegation is usually between 120 and 130 people of which about 50 are not employees of the municipality.

Andre Moss of the Freedom Front Plus spoke out strongly against what he deemed to be a waste of the public’s money. “The FF plus is opposed to the waste of taxpayers’ money to treat officials for three days outside the boundaries of Tzaneen for a strategic session that could have been held within the boundaries of Tzaneen or our own council chambers. We will make sure service delivery is not impacted and will monitor that the funds for projects are used correctly.”

The DA’s Tzaneen Caucus Leader, Rene Pohl has vehemently condemned the wasteful expenditure of public funds in hosting the strategic planning sessions (which are both necessary and important) at a venue outside of the province. Pohl said that no member of her caucus will be attending the three-day session.

We have asked the spokesperson of the GTM, Vutivi Makhubele, for comment on the matter and what this year’s excursion will cost. At the time of going to print she had stated that she would make the details known as soon as they have been finalized.