Municipality defends spending thousands on another ‘employee wellness’ event

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Within a month after being severely criticised for spending a lot of money on a staff event, the Merafong City Local Municipality is now preparing to do it again.
Members of the public were furious when municipal workers took the day off to relax at a wellness event at the Carletonville Sports Centre on Friday, 8 September.
During the past week, it came to light that the municipality has approved another R336 050 for employees to take part in the OR Tambo Games. The registration for this event costs R50 000 while R4 050 has been set aside to buy sports equipment. R12 000 will be used for transport to the venue in the Ekurhuleni Municipality while R36 000 has been set out for golf shirts for 300 employees.
A total of R210 000 has been set aside for tracksuits for 300 employees while 3 000 employees will get caps, valued at R24 000.
Last year, the municipality spent over R200 000 for the OR Tambo Games, arguing that this was a huge reduction from the R500 000 spent for the event in previous financial years.
The DA, as the official opposition in council, criticised the spending in a press release issued this week.
The Herald asked the municipality for its comment on Tuesday, focusing on why it had taken on this expense despite its financial problems.
It also wanted to know whether all the employees who will be getting outfits will be participating in the sporting events and whether the municipality had considered other cost-saving measures like retaining the sports kit and outfits for the following year.
‘The OR Tambo Inter-Municipal Games has been in existence for 10 years and is an approved Council activity.
It contributes to the promotion of employee wellness and social cohesion among employees and councillors of different municipalities around Gauteng.
It boosts the employees’ morale and encourages healthy living through sports,’ said the municipal spokesperson in defence of the perceived extravagance.
During the OR Tambo games of last year, some of Merafong’s employees brought back medals for bowls, volleyball, soccer and the traditional game of ncuva.

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