Do Umvoti’s full-time office bearers travel 74 000km monthly?

2017-03-15 06:05

THE Umvoti Municipality is in today’s issue alerting the community that it has tabled the 2016/17 Adjustment Budget and anyone who would like to comment on any aspects should check the document on the council’s website (at the time of going to press on Tuesday morning, the adjustment budget was not yet on the website).

In terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act and the Municipal Systems Act the public should have been informed that the Adjustment Budget was being discussed at a special council meeting on March 7 so that anyone interested could attend, listen to the discussions and submit comments.

As the public is aware, with the current state of the economy, the high rate of unemployment and the increasing cost of living, money is tight for many. Not apparently for Umvoti Municipality and Council though.

Since September, the speaker and deputy mayor have each been chauffeured in a rented Fortuner (just about top of the range).

In the council discussion municipal officials were unable to give any information to councillors as to what the cost of renting these two vehicles for the eight months is, what mileage has been done, what had happened to the vehicles being driven by the previous speaker and deputy­ mayor up to the local elections in August 2016 and why nothing has been done to sort this out.

The mayor instructed officials to purchase two new vehicles to replace the rentals within two weeks. The two Fortuners have GP registration plates, but at this stage it is not known which rental firm has been used.

Twelve new Toyota vehicles, bought recently for over R4 000 000 are still standing in the yard, awaiting the installation of trackers and a fleet management system to check usage.

Adding to this somewhat unnecessary cost, a municipal car wash for R1 000 000 and a carport costing R2 500 000 was entered into the adjustment budget. No information was made available as to how these totals had been reached, no plans tabled and no costing given, and the most crucial point of all, the source of the water for this municipal car wash or is a borehole the next expense?

But perhaps the cherry on the top of Umvoti Council vehicle spree is the issue of petrol cards.

Petrol cards, with a total limit of R100 000 per month, will be issued to the the mayor, speaker and deputy mayor and two “floating officials” (if the petrol price is R13.50 per litre, 7 407 petrol can be bought and a vehicle average 10km per litre a distance of 74 000km can be travelled).

Motivation for this, the three office bearers have to pay out of their own pocket sometimes and it takes time to be repaid (the three do receive a transport allowance as part of their packages).

Currently vehicles are filled in Greytown at a local service station­, but the petrol cards will supersede this arrangement. Supporting this extra perk, sometimes the three have to travel out of town for longer than a day, which supposedly would increase whatever distance travelled.

The two “spare” petrol cards will be for members of staff for “all trips outside the municipal boundaries”.

No information was given, as with the two rented vehicles, as to what distances are actually travelled, where, why and how often.

Hopefully, before any of these high-flying vehicle perks are put into operation strictly controlled logbooks will be an integral part of the system.

It is over to the community, please check the website www:umvoti.gov.za to see and comment on the many more aspects of the adjustment budget and remember it is your money and your town.

Comments to be emailed to by the acting chief financial officer at Sphindile.ngiba@umvoti.gov. za

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