ALMOST three months after The Herald exposed a R25000 trip taken by Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Zanoxolo Wayile and his wife Fezeka to Durban, Wayile has released what he says is proof that the trip was in fact business-related.
While on the 10-day trip in December, Wayile said he held several meetings with potential investors, as well as education leaders to lobby funds for the metro.
In June, The Herald reported that Wayile and his wife stayed at the four-star Protea Umhlanga Ridge Hotel for 10 days with flights, accommodation, food and drinks paid for by the metro.
At the time, Wayile insisted that the trip was for official business, but he would not say what that business was.
Responding to questions raised by DA chief whip Gustav Rautenbach about the trip, Wayile said he met a number of stakeholders in Durban, focusing primarily on education, youth empowerment and service delivery challenges.
"The visit in question constituted an official working trip to promote social and economic development and enhance service delivery in Nelson Mandela Bay."
Detailing his meetings with the various stakeholders, Wayile said he met:
ıSA Democratic Teachers' Union president Thobile Ntola. They discussed the outcomes of the Educational Task Team Campaign last year, as well as the process regarding the Bay Education Indaba;
ıNcamiso Mlambo of the KZN Progressive Business Forum. They discussed youth empowerment programmes, social mobilisation strategy and best practices regarding social networking and social partners;
ıRepresentatives from Dezzo Holdings & Stedon to discuss potential funding for service delivery challenges, such as water and sanitation, as well as alternative funding for projects affected by the 2009/10 cash crisis. They also visited sites where they viewed ablution facilities and temporary housing structures in informal settlements; and
ıNumsa Investment Company to explore further opportunities in line with the public-private partnership agreement with the company, the Bay and Eastern Cape Department of Human Settlements.
Wayile said mayors were delegated the responsibility to promote inter-governmental and inter-institutional relations, as well as promote social and economic development within their municipalities.
"In fulfilling this core responsibility, therefore, official trips cannot be limited only to those undertaken at the formal invitation of external stakeholders.
"Any belief that merely because a trip is undertaken in December, it necessarily constitutes a holiday is far-fetched and misguided.
"Every year, the December/January recess period has found the executive mayor working tirelessly in executing strategic and ceremonial responsibilities across the length and breadth of the metro, the province and nationally," Wayile said.