City’s luxury vehicle splurge

2017-05-09 13:45
The two new BMW X5s with a retail price ranging from R900 000 were delivered to the city council on Monday.

The two new BMW X5s with a retail price ranging from R900 000 were delivered to the city council on Monday. (File)

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Two luxury vehicles estimated to have cost the city more than R2 million have been purchased for the Msunduzi mayor and his deputy.

The BMW X5s were delivered to the city council on Monday. The Witness was sent a photograph of the two cars parked at the AS Chetty municipal basement parking but two sources revealed that four more vehicles are expected to be delivered over the next two weeks.

The choice of vehicles appears to disregard cost-cutting measures introduced by the government to reduce wasteful expenditure.

The gunpowder grey SUVs with basic features are sold for about R900 000 each. It is unclear what extra features may have been added to the vehicles that could have increased the price far beyond R1 million each.

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha confirmed that the two BMW SUVs were purchased for Msunduzi Mayor Themba Njilo and deputy mayor Thobani Zuma.

Mafumbatha did not reveal exactly how much was spent on the vehicles, saying that the “factory price was paid through the national contract from the Department of Transport”.

A second source said that two Volkswagon Golf GTIs and two Ford Wildtrak Rangers would also be delivered to council offices in the next two weeks.

The source revealed that all six vehicles would be used by Njilo and Zuma’s entourages.

Mafumbatha said that funds for the purchase were made available during the mid-term adjustment budget and the budget was submitted to all the relevant committees. “Vigorous communication was undertaken leading up to the adoption of the mid-term adjustment budget,” Mafumbatha said.

She said that purchasing these vehicles was decided on after a cost benefit analysis was done and it showed it was more cost effective to purchase the new cars than to lease the cars or keep repairing the old ones.

Deputy leader for the DA in KZN Mergan Chetty said the municipality was “insensitive” to purchase the vehicles “whilst residents are being financially burdened with the loss of groceries that have gone bad, or appliances that have blown, due to council’s incompetence”.

Chetty was referring to the recent erratic power outages that plunged most of the city into darkness. “This arrogant display by the ANC must be stopped. This city cannot afford to spend millions of ratepayers’ coffers on fancy cars, yet be told that there is no budget when it comes to providing essential basic service delivery to our residents,” Chetty wrote in a letter to The Witness.

He accused the ANC of deploying officials into senior positions who “failed to realise that their core mandate is to provide service delivery to all residents”.

“The ANC must place residents’ needs first ahead of party bigwigs’ fancy vehicles,” he said.

Dennis Ntombela of the IFP chose to withhold his comments on the major purchase, saying it was “unfair” for him to comment.

“I just want to check if the budget that was agreed upon was surpassed then I can get back to you,” he told The Witness.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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