Luxury cars ‘to run errands’

2017-04-28 16:36
THE KZN Legislature has spent close to two million rands on three luxury cars to be used for running errands for the institution.

THE KZN Legislature has spent close to two million rands on three luxury cars to be used for running errands for the institution. (File)

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The KZN Legislature has spent close to two million rands on three luxury cars to be used for running errands for the institution.

The legislature received delivery of the three top of the range Audi sedans recently at a cost of around R600 000 each.

The cars will not be used by political heads, speaker Lydia Johnson or her deputy, Meshack Radebe.

The purchase, which comes in the wake of the province adopting cost-cutting measures and the SA economy being downgraded to junk status by two rating agencies, has raised eyebrows in the legislature’s corridors.

A source with intimate information about the matter said the legislature was still expecting more deliveries to replace other vehicles in its fleet.

“Why did they not buy cars that are light on petrol and are easy to maintain? The legislature cannot be buying luxury cars for officials at the expense of the taxpayers,” said the source.

KZN Legislature spokesperson Wonder Hlongwa confirmed the purchase.

He said the cars were bought to replace eight vehicles the legislature had recently disposed of after they had exceeded their useful life.

“The decision has been taken in light of the vast terrain that the legislature visits as part of its oversight responsibilities as well as the need to transport dignitaries that normally attend legislature events.

“The three Audis that have been procured through the Department of Transport’s contract for government vehicles were acquired with due consideration to the price and taking cognisance of the cost-cutting measures. The cars that have been procured are reflective of the legislature’s current needs,” he said.

The eight vehicles that have been replaced include a 2011 Toyota Corolla 1.6, a 2010 Chev Cruz 1.6 and a 2011 Toyota Hilux 2.7 double cab. The latest models of these vehicles would have cost R314 000, R286 800 and R385 800 respectively — just over half of what was paid for the luxury sedans.

Opposition parties have questioned the choice of cars.

IFP caucus leader in the provincial legislature Blessed Gwala said, “Why buy expensive vehicles for office work when you can even buy a motorbike or a bicycle to run errands?”.

DA spokesperson in the KZN Legislature Mbali Ntuli said the party would investigate the matter.

“This sounds like excessive spending. As far as I know there are cars at the legislature that officials can use. Why would they need to buy such expensive cars to run errands? Really now?

“We will write to all the relevant parties and get to the bottom of the story,” she said.

NFP caucus leader in the provincial legislature Vikizitha Mlotshwa said the spending was “totally wrong”.

“We feel that taxpayers’ money has been used carelessly. For officials, they should have used cars that cost less than R200 000,” he said.

EFF caucus leader Vusi Khoza said his party would challenge the purchase when the legislature returns from recess next week.

“At a time when we are facing austerity measures and budget cuts, we find it highly irresponsible for the legislature to buy such expensive cars. It is unwarranted.

“The legislature does not need cars. Officials can use cars from other government departments. These officials are paid enough to buy their own cars to be mobile.

“This money should be used to decolonise the legislature building like removing statues of Queen Victoria and Sir Theophilus Shepstone,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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