City fleet ‘is abused’

2019-12-09 15:00
City Hallâ??s Clock tower keeps ticking. The Msunduzi municipality has managed to keep ahead of the problem the pigeons keep dropping. Photo. Jonathan Burton8BIM

City Hallâ??s Clock tower keeps ticking. The Msunduzi municipality has managed to keep ahead of the problem the pigeons keep dropping. Photo. Jonathan Burton8BIM (file)

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Msunduzi's expenditure committee has raised concerns about the abuse of the City’s fleet and recommended that council pay close attention to this.

The committee — which was put together as part of the municipality’s cost containment strategy — has been guiding council on how to spend its funds and save where it can.

It has come to be known to reject some of the requests for procuring goods and services not only due to the City’s budget constraints but also when its members felt that the expenditure had not been justified.

Some of the items that were rejected recently include the request to approve a payment for close to R100 000 for car hire by the waste management unit and more than R7 million for gravel maintenance and related plant equipment hire.

In a recent council meeting, acting municipal manager Nelisiwe Ngcobo said the committee was busy with the cost containment policy that would guide council on which items it could approve for procurement.

She said the committee had also re-commended that the municipality formulates a policy regulating sponsorships, the use of consultants as well as the hiring of vehicles and plant equipment. She said the municipality needed to review the sponsorships it had with the likes of Comrades Marathon and Maritzburg United in order to ensure that they were in line with its policies.

Ngcobo said one of the concerns raised by the committee was the abuse of Msunduzi’s fleet. She said the muni-cipality had to appoint fleet officers to manage the use of municipal cars by the various departments.

“The expenditure, in terms of the repairs of the fleet, is very high which is a major concern,” she said.

While council applauded the work of the expenditure committee as it could help the City restore financial stability, there was some concerns that some of the cuts could impact negatively on service delivery.

Ward 1’s Jabu Ngubo used the maintenance of gravel roads as one of the issues that should be prioritised especially during the rainy season, saying the committee must therefore be careful not to stall service delivery.

The councillor of Ward 7, Sandile Ngubane, concurred with her saying it was difficult to drive on some of the gravel roads because they had not been maintained for some time.

Ngcobo said Msunduzi’s financial challenges had resulted in some projects — such as the gravel roads — being put on hold until the adjustment budget, which would be finalised in January.

Ross Strachan of Ward 26 said the City would never regain financial stability if it only focused on cutting expenditure. He said efforts also need to be directed to revenue collection and that meant dealing with non-payment and theft of water and electricity.

“There are irregular developments all over the City and those properties have been illegally connected. Town planning needs to make sure that we formalise those developments and those people are made to pay for the services,” he said.

Strachan’s neighbour, Manqoba Ngubo, said in order for Msunduzi to succeed in its initiatives to increase revenue collection, it had to get the law enforcement unit in order. He said there were contraventions taking place across the City and the municipality could be generating revenue from those in terms of fines but there was no enforcement.

Ngubo warned that even campaigns that were meant to rejuvenate the City would not be sustainable if there was no enforcement of the related by-laws.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality
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