NW premier to splurge R1.1m on new luxury car

2010-07-18 09:08

North West’s Premier Maureen Modiselle will soon be the recipient of a brand-new

R1.1 million BMW 750i, while her old BMW is gathering dust at a panelbeater’s

premises.

The BMW 730d (registration ONE NW) has done 93 085km. It was bought

for about R900 000 in 2008.

The car was damaged in a minor accident in February. The air bags

were not activated during the accident, but the front bumper, grille and

headlamps were damaged.

Brian’s Auto Body Shop in Mafikeng says it would have cost about

R117 000 to fix the damage. However, the car has been standing idle for five

months at the body shop, chalking up R21 600 in ­unpaid storage fees.

The BMW 730d was the official vehicle used by Modiselle’s predecessor, Edna Molewa. Modiselle is currently using an Audi Q7 which was also

previously used by Molewa.

This week the Democratic Alliance released its second Wasteful

Expenditure Monitor. The report said that ministers, deputy ministers and

departments that report to them had spent close to R1.5 billion on unnecessary

items such as luxury cars, prolonged stays at five-star hotels, World Cup

tickets, self-congratulatory advertisements and lavish parties.

The DA described the spending as “a gross misallocation of public

funds which has brought no benefit to South Africans”.

Modiselle’s special adviser, Dr Benjani Chauke, said it

was not wasteful to purchase a R1.1-million vehicle as they were trying to

“safeguard the premier’s life”.He said: “Even before

the ­accident, we wanted to change the BMW because it was way above the

120 000km mark.”

City Press later established, however, that the mileage on the car

was in fact 93 085km.

Chauke claimed: “The other day both the Q7 and the back-up ­vehicle

were smoking.”

Brian’s Auto Body Shop ­manager, Adele Caetano, said a R117 438

repair quote was sent to the North West public works, roads and transport

department on February 17, but it was ignored.

Caetano said: “More than two months later they wanted to take the

vehicle away without paying the R2 062 we charged for ­stripping and fitting,

which was the work done which enabled us to give them a quote.”

She said the car could move, but its battery was flat because it

had been idle since February.

Shop owner Luis Caetano said the car was taking up space in the

undercover section of the premises, where the storage charge was R120 a

day.

He said the vehicle would not be released before the money owed had

been paid in full.

Matshube Mfoloe, the department’s spokesperson, said: “The vehicle

was driven from the ­accident scene in Rustenburg by the designated driver to

our ­offices in Mafikeng and subsequently taken to Dada Motors for assessment,

since no structural damage was evident.

“To our surprise and without our knowledge or instruction, the

­vehicle was referred to Brian’s ­Auto Body Shop by Dada Motors.”

Mfoloe added: “The department is in the process of acquiring a new

vehicle for the premier. In terms of the ministerial handbook, members of the

executive council, ministers and premiers can purchase a vehicle of their choice

for up to 70% of their gross ­salary, and such vehicles should be utilised for

up to 120 000km or five years, whichever comes first.”

He said ONE NW “has or is about to complete its mileage; hence the

department is proactively in the process of acquiring a new vehicle for the

premier”.

And the panel-beater’s account? Mfoloe said: “The department will

not be paying storage as Brian’s is a government-approved merchant of WesBank

First Auto and it had signed the merchant ­agreement with WesBank not to charge

government storage fees.”

Caetano disputed this, however, saying that she had never signed

any agreement allowing government to dump vehicles on the premises for up to six

months without paying storage fees.

She described the department’s behaviour as bullying tactics and

said: “Are they saying ­panel-beaters must rent space to government ­vehicles

for free?”

Dada Motors’ service manager, Stephen Mathobi, said ONE NW was

driven to their premises by the department’s fleet manager, known only as

Strubel, on ­February 16.

Mathobi said: “We could see it was accident-damaged. We checked it

and we could not do that job. One of our foremen drove it to Luis (Brian’s Auto

Body Shop) as they are BMW-approved.”


 

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