District car's R5 000 fines in one day

2008-08-22 00:00

An uMgungundlovu District Municipality car acquired three traffic fines totalling R5 000 in one day, and received over R15 000 in fines in a year.

The executive committee (Exco) of the district municipality issued a directive to its administration yesterday to provide them with names, dates, times and what action has been taken against employees who misuse vehicles.

The Witness understands that a report was tabled to Exco concerning allegations of misuse of petrol cards and the traffic fines incurred by municipal vehicles. Exco's directive includes establishing who was liable to pay the fines.

The municipality incurred a total of R43 950 in fines between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008, with fines amounting to R15 350 belonging to one vehicle, registration number NP 58963. On May 18, the vehicle was fined three times, first R2 500 and then twice for R1 250.

In the previous financial year, the municipality spent over R2,4 million on 69 vehicles. The report said the expenditure suggests an average of R201 138,42 per month, attributed to, among other things:

* inadequate motor vehicle policy;

* excessive repairs and maintenance costs owing to the age of the fleet;

* excessive engine capacity (three-litre V6 engines);

* escalating fuel costs;

* vehicle usage log sheets not completed;

* vehicle register not maintained;

* records of drivers not maintained;

* random inspection of vehicles not performed;

* lack of staff capacity and

* municipal vehicles not easily identifiable as municipal property.

The report by the strategic executive manager for corporate services, Siphiwe Gwala, carried information pertaining to the cost and performance statistics of all council vehicles, which could form the basis of an investigation into forms of misuse.

It states that there have been instances of traffic violations and unauthorised use of vehicles and petrol cards.

DA caucus leader Sizwe Mchunu said an investigation must be launched to find out how many cars have been crashed and written off.

Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee said municipal vehicles are an asset and need to be properly maintained at all times.

He said that although accidents do happen, proper logging for vehicle requisitions needs to be adopted and accidents must be reported so the municipality does not lose out on insurance claims.

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