Council worker caught using municipal tractor on private land

2013-04-25 00:00

A MUNICIPAL worker was caught red-handed using a municipal tractor to mow a privately owned property in Mountain Rise.

He was confronted by two councillors and the municipal manager, Mxolisi Nkosi.

It turned out the driver and the tractor were based at the Mountain Rise cemetery. The driver was allegedly instructed by a senior cemetery official to mow the grass on a private property in Peter Hey Road.

Residents alerted councillor Mergan Chetty to the problem. They said the work had been going on for months. Chetty said the residents demanded to know why council resources were being used on private land when their public spaces and verges were unkempt and overgrown.

He had raised the complaints with officials, but was told he had to provide proof.

On Tuesday, Chetty said, he was alerted by residents as soon as the tractor arrived on the property. He called the chairperson of the community services portfolio committee, Manilall Inderjith, who in turn informed the municipal manager.

Nkosi confirmed yesterday that an investigation was under way.

Inderjith, who is overseeing the investigation, said he aimed to establish how the owners of the private property, prominent businesspeople in the city, had got the municipality to work for them. He declined to name the property owners and other individuals involved, saying they were still being interviewed.

The senior official who allegedly gave the instruction was also being investigated. It seemed the driver had simply been carrying out orders.

“It is ironic that the grass right outside the main office of the cemetery is overgrown and the tractor, instead of being used to keep the cemetery neat, is deployed elsewhere.”

Even more worrying was that the tractor was supposed to be cutting the verges on Otto’s Bluff Road, Inderjith added.

Chetty said the grass cutting schedules had barely been written and already the system was being abused.

The investigation must look at why there was no supervision and why no one had noticed the absence of the driver and his tractor from the work team in Otto’s Bluff Road.

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