Frustration over old vehicles

2010-02-10 00:00

HOW is the community services business unit expected to run effectively when fleet management fails to give it the necessary support?

This was one of the questions repeatedly asked during yesterday’s community services committee meeting at which it was revealed that fleet management is dragging its feet when it comes to the acquisition of vehicles.

Deputy municipal manager Zwe Hulane cited an incident that took place almost two weeks ago when frustrated traffic officers parked old and unreliable municipal vehicles outside the city hall entrance in protest.

At the time, the officers complained that some of the vehicles were at least 15 years old, had broken windows, worn-out bodies and oil leaks, and they demanded the vehicles be replaced.

New England Road landfill site workers and waste management employees have also protested over the poor state of their fleet.

Hulane said R15 million was set aside this year for the purchase of vehicles.

“These were primarily to be service delivery vehicles after council had noted the difficulties experienced in rendering an effective and efficient waste management service,” he said.

Hulane said that for reasons unknown, the tender for buying the vehicles has not been advertised.

“Accordingly, the frustrations of traffic officers at having to use scrap vehicles is not without justification. We cannot expect employees who have to work in very difficult conditions to use vehicles which can break down at any moment, as this compromises the safety of our officers,” he said.

Hulane said fleet management, whose task it is to purchase vehicles, is not doing so and thus making his business unit look bad.

“What can this business unit do when it does not get the necessary support from support departments within the municipality?

“Unfortunately, we cannot be giving these reasons to the public whenever there are problems relating to vehicles … this business unit has generated so much bad publicity because of unreliable vehicles,” he said.

ANC councillor Les Naidoo said they repeated problems have been experienced with fleet management and the time has come to convene a meeting with the relevant chairpersons so that these issues can be ironed out.

“This business unit virtually runs the city, so if we can’t have what we ask for, can we blame workers for striking when there’s no delivery?” he said.

IFP councillor Candy Seymour said the management committee needs to realise that fleet management is not working and suggested that it reverts to the system where each department manages its own fleet.

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