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‘Give rate payer’s money to feed the poor and needy’

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“This was prohibited by national legislation. There was no way we could continue. What we thought we would spend in January, we could not spend, not because we didn’t want to but because we were prohibited by Covid-19. If we don’t make the adjustment, it means we would have a huge non-expenditure. It is sensible to cut it now. It does not mean we loose the money. With regards to Smartie Town, there is enough money in this budget. Service delivery will not be tampered with.”

Councillor Franklin Adams from the New Democratic Civic Association brought an amendment to the Adjustments Budget before council in which he asked that R10 million be budgeted for food security.

Earlier Van Deventer had emphasised the following with regards to food security: “Food distribution is not our (local government’s) mandate. It’s illegal. Hence we found a body that could deliver this service for us and we are doing this via Stellenbosch Unite. That is their mandate. We cannot be non-compliant when it comes to legislation.”

“Why can’t we give R10 million for food security?” councillor Derrick Hendrickse from the EFF remarked before being brought to order by the Speaker.

While tabling his amendment Adams said a lot of people lost their income due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “It’s not about the mandate. It’s about humanity. We as the municipality have a moral obligation to support our people, in particular the poor and vulnerable. Even the middle class are under strain. My amendment is very simple. This council must agree to add R10 million from our own budget for food security. We have a reserve fund with millions of rands. Let us start using it.”

Hendrickse in supporting the amendment, emphasised that the municipality gave R300 000 in terms of its Grant-in-Aid Policy toward Stellenbosch Unite as well as R900 000 that was sourced from the provincial government. “What is preventing us from giving R10 million of our rate payer’s money to organisations to give food seeing as this is not our mandate?

“With this amendment councillor Hendrickse and Adams want me to do something illegal so that they can get me fired. We cannot do this. It is simply illegal and council cannot agree to this. If we agree, we will all be fired,” Van Deventer then said.

In response to this Adams said it is not his intention to trick the Mayor. “It is irresponsible of her to make such a statement. This is about humanity. Was the money that has already been spent also illegal? The government gave you a mandate to help our people. Let’s use whatever processes or systems within the legislation.”

The majority of council voted against the proposed amendment.

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