Mayor’s modest new Golf gets praise, but speaker’s Ikon not

2014-02-27 00:00

MSUNDUZI Mayor Chris Ndlela is getting a new set of more modest mayoral wheels — a VW Golf 7.

The base model sells for R304 700, although the top of the range can cost over R420 000 if most of the optional extras have been fitted.

Municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi yesterday told the full council two VW Golfs were being bought — one for the mayor and the other for Deputy Mayor Thobani Zuma.

But praise for Ndlela’s act of austerity was overshadowed when Nkosi went on to say that Ford Ikons were also being bought for the speaker and the chief whip. DA councillor Bill Lambert Lambert protested. He had no problem with the mayor and his deputy getting new cars to replace the ageing mayoral fleet, but he asked why cars were being bought for Speaker Babu Baijoo and Chief Whip Truman Magubane.

“Look at our salaries,” Lambert said “All of us get a transport allowance that has been substantially increased. By buying these cars we are setting a dangerous precedent and giving the impression that we are returning to our fat cat status.”

ANC councillor councillor Dumisani Phungula took exception to the term “fat cat”. He said it was insulting the speaker and that it was inappropriate terminology to use in the council chamber. Lambert replied that “fat cat” was a “linguistic expression”, and that he was referring to public perception.

Baijoo said there was a council resolution for the speaker to have a car going back to 2006 and if Lambert wanted things changed the resolution would have to be rescinded.

“Then we must have it rescinded,” Lambert said.

Baijoo said he was driving a hired car, which amused the deputy mayor, who always quipped that the speaker of the second largest municipality in the province was in a borrowed car.

Lambert piped up, “Why don’t you use your own Mercedes?”

Baijoo retorted, “That’s my wife’s car”. Lambert shot back, “Borrow it from her.”

Ndlela is off until Monday, after his accident.

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