Municipal 4x4 'misused, crashed'

2009-01-08 00:00

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Richmond Municipality has accused the ANC mayor and deputy mayor of abusing a council vehicle and failing to report an accident.

Councillor Goodman Madondo (DA) claims the alleged use of a white 4x4 Isuzu (NK 4629) for private activities by Mayor Ben Ngcongo and Deputy Mayor Bonisile Dlamini during December, resulted in the car being damaged in an accident.

He said that the 4x4 started being used for activities unrelated to the council during the Integrated Development Planning (IDP) imbizo last month.

This continued, said Madondo, even after the IDP imbizo and the vehicle was seen ferrying goats and other goods to the Nhlazuka rural area where Ngcongo and Dlamini are from. Madondo believes the goats and goods were for family functions.

“The car was involved in an accident, and rumours are that the car rolled and got damaged while it was being used for jobs outside of the municipality. The last time I saw it, it was being driven by the deputy mayor’s driver during the IDP imbizo,” said Madondo.

After probing further about the whereabouts of the vehicle, Madondo found it at a panelbeating shop in Pietermaritzburg. The vehicle was dented and the windscreen was damaged.

Madondo said the accident was not reported to council. “I made inquiries about how the car got damaged and who caused it, but the members of the ANC that I spoke to said they were also waiting to be briefed as to what had happened. I believe that this is being kept as a secret, that is why I am exposing it,” said Madondo.

He said the abuse of the 4x4 has also led to poor service in Richmond. He said that about three weeks ago the council’s stored diesel ran out and other council vehicles were unable to be used because the council’s diesel was used to fill up the 4x4.

A person who works for the municipality, who wished to remain anonymous, said the vehicle was seen running errands for the deputy mayor. He said that both the mayor and deputy mayor have car allowances.

“The car is paid for by the ratepayers and what is also surprising is that the accident seems to have not been reported to the police. There are contradicting statements about what happened to it and who was driving it at the time of the accident,” he said.

Attempts to get comment from Ngcongo and Dlamini were unsuccessful at the time of going to print. Responding to questions faxed to him, the acting municipal manager, Sikhombiso Mthembu, said he has only been in the post a short time and that the “matter is receiving my attention and I will revert to you timeously”.

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