Muncipality spends on mayor's new car, not service delivery

2015-05-19 16:00
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Bloemfontein - A Free State municipality was criticised on Tuesday for its decision to allocate R500 000 to the purchase of a car for its mayor while service delivery and infrastructure allegedly deteriorates in the area.

DA Councillor Tania Halse said the party wonders where the mayor, Councillor Dennis Ntsepe, will drive his new car “considering that the roads in Mantsopa [Municipality] are non-existent”.

 “Making much needed money available for the benefit of the mayor, at the expense of the people, in a municipality which has received two consecutive disclaimer audit opinions from the auditor general is, quite frankly, perverse,” charged Halse.

The total budget for new vehicles to enable the municipality to do its work is R2.5m for the next financial year.

“We wonder where Mayor Ntsepe plans on driving his new car considering that the roads in Mantsopa are non-existent?” Halse said.

‘Roads hardly usable’

But the mayor defended the decision saying the council had decided it was cheaper to buy than to rent him a car - and he promised service delivery improvements would be implemented too.

But Halse claimed roads in the municipality were hardly usable. The municipality could not grade the dirt roads as the grader was broken. No money had been budgeted to fix it, she said.

“Service delivery is terrible. We have had protest marches and handed over memoranda, but we have not even been answered.”

Also, the water quality in the area did not get monitored and Halse claimed residents have to buy drinking water.

“Last year the vet put out a statement that dogs in the area died, and she can put her head on a block that it is because of the water.”

She said the sewerage plant had also ground to a standstill. There was a crack in the system and sewerage water was seeping into the reservoir.

‘He should have waited before buying car’

Refuse removal was often days late.

“He is due to get a new car, but considering the financial situation in the municipality, he should have waited a year or opted for a cheaper vehicle,” she told News24.

The municipality in the eastern Free State includes the towns of Ladybrand, Excelsior and Tweespruit.

The household debt owed to the municipality is more than R283m. Of the total budgeted revenue of R254m, R25m - almost 10% - was earmarked for interest on overdue accounts.

The municipality had not decided on a manufacturer or a model.

“We will look around to see what we can get for the money, but we will not exceed the R500 000.”

He has also stressed that road maintenance would be a priority in the coming financial year, with some of the local roads being paved.

Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  service delivery  |  local government

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