The cash-strapped Mantsopa Municipality’s purchase of a Mercedes-Benz C-class at a cost of R500 000 for Mayor Mamsie Tsoene has caused a stir. Tsoene was sworn in last year following the 2016 local elections. The municipality was one of the seven defaulting municipalities contributing to the debt of R92 million to Eskom. Mantsopa is among the seven municipalities the Free State government bailed out by paying its debt after Eskom threatened to suspend electricity supply to all defaulting municipalities. Following this, all the affected municipalities had to submit payment plans.The DA members in the Mantsopa council has appealed to Tsoene to do the right thing by cancelling the purchase of the luxury vehicle in the light of the municipality’s predicament.“It is time to put the people first and not the ANCs own personal interests,” said Tania Halse, DA ward councillor in Mantsopa. Halse urged the mayor to focus on saving every possible cent to deliver much-needed services to voters. She said service delivery was at crisis levels in Mantsopa, with the municipality struggling to provide safe water to residents and keeping up with the outstanding electricity bill. “In addition‚ graders‚ refuse removal trucks and other vehicles were either broken down or so old that they needed to be replaced,” said Halse. “Many streets also do not have lamps and sign boards are illegible‚ while sewage is flowing down the streets. People are forced to live with garbage due to the inconsistent collection of refuse.” Halse added that R3,7 million had been lost in wasteful expenditure and that irregular expenditure for the period 1 July 2015 to 31 December 2015 had amounted to nearly R847 000.The Mantsopa municipal manager, Selby Selepe, said that the municipal council, including the DA, had approved the budget in the beginning of the current financial year. According to Selepe, the previous mayor was using a vehicle rented from the Free State government’s garage.