Bloemfontein – The DA in the Mantsopa municipality has written to the council and its financial committee about R1.2m the municipality spent on flowers in the 2015/2016 financial year. There were no similar expenses in the previous financial year.
In addition to that, the municipality also bought a R531 274 Mercedes-Benz C200 for its mayor on October 25, 2016, Netwerk24 reported.
Only R500 000 had been budgeted for the official car.
Mantsopa (Excelsior, Hobhouse, Ladybrand, Thaba Patchoa and Tweespruit) is one of a number of Free State municipalities in trouble with Eskom over unpaid electricity bills.
According to a mid-term report submitted to the council in January, the municipality owes Eskom R98m.
An assistant to Mantsopa municipality’s chief financial officer, Amos Makoae, said Makoae was not available for comment and that he wasn't allowed to provide his contact number.
Infrastructure in disrepair
A furious Tania Halse, DA councillor in the Mantsopa municipality, said it was incomprehensible and unconscionable that the municipality could splurge on flowers while it can't pay Eskom and the roads are falling into disrepair because there isn't money to fix them.
She added that Mantsopa also didn't have money to repair its water infrastructure.
Halse said the accounts committee should explain what the flowers were for.
"They must prove that the right procedure was followed since more than R100 000 was spent," she said.
Municipal manager Selby Selepe denied that Mantsopa had bought flowers to the tune of R1.2m.
Halse had to have an invoice to prove it, Selepe said.
Halse provided an annual report currently being tabled, in which the expense is clearly stated, as proof that R1.2m was spent on flowers.