Richmond Municipality: DA councillor accused of bad faith

2009-01-11 00:00

The ruling party in the Richmond Municipality has denied allegations of the misuse of a municipal 4x4 by the mayor and deputy mayor and has hit back on the DA, accusing it of political point-scoring.

DA councillor Goodman Madonda accused the ANC mayor and deputy mayor last week of misusing the council vehicle for their personal activities and said that in the process the vehicle was damaged in an accident.

Madonda said the accident was not reported to the council and he suspected that the matter was being swept under the carpet.

The council speaker Andrew Ragavaloo (ANC) said Madonda’s allegations were extreme and mischievous and were a “puerile” attempt at political point-scoring.

Ragavaloo said the accident was reported to the police and the municipality’s insurers by the municipal employee who was driving the car at the time of the accident.

He said Madonda should have followed municipal procedures for laying complaints if he suspected misconduct and that he should report the matter to the speaker’s office for possible investigation.

“The fact that he seems to have carried out his own investigation, and made unfounded allegations which bring the council and political heads into disrepute, smacks of political gerrymandering.

“He [Madonda] is urged to present the facts to the speaker’s office instead of attempting to sensationalise, thumb-suck, [and to make] below-the-belt misconceptions for political scoring,” said Ragavaloo.

The Richmond Municipality, he said, has a track record of acting against councillors who flout the code of conduct and Madonda is welcome to table any complaint. He said the council is on recess and the accident does not need to be reported to the council as it will be dealt with by the acting municipal manager, Mkhombisi Mthembu.

Mthembu told The Witness that the accident was reported to the police and an insurance claim was submitted to the insurers on December 15. He said the municipality’s administration is waiting for a report from the insurers about the extent of the damage to the vehicle.

Mthembu said the vehicle was being used for council business at the time of the accident. He said the employee was tasked together with Deputy Mayor Bonisile Dlamini to assist the Labour Department to distribute identity documents.

Mthembu said municipal vehicles are not allowed to be used for personal activities and the municipality takes action against those who have done so.

According to sources, whose names are known to The Witness, the company that towed the 4x4 from the accident scene in Byrne Village outside Richmond at 2 am on December 13 is owed R4 853 for towing services.

The source said that a “strict” instruction was given to tow the car to Executive Panelbeaters in the city on Friday, December 19. A source said that the rush to have the car towed to Pietermaritzburg indicated that the matter was to be hidden.

He said the vehicle was beyond economical repair.

Attempts to receive comment from Executive Panelbeaters were unsuccesful at the time of going to print.

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