Greater Tzaneen Municipality spokesperson Neville Ndlala defended the purchase of the Mayor Maripe Mangena’s new R1.2-million Mercedes Benz, Letaba Herald reports.
He said the purchase of a new vehicle for the mayor was necessary because the previous mayor’s vehicle was bought in 2011 and had exceeded 150 000 kilometres, and that it was no longer under a motor plan and was involved in two separate minor accidents.
“The vehicle has also suffered numerous mechanical breakdowns costing the municipality in excess of R180 000 at some stage and in a very short period. There was also high cost of hiring a vehicle for the mayor during the periods where the vehicle was involved either in an accident or suffered mechanical breakdown.“
He said: “We have invoices to back this. In actual fact the purchase of the new vehicle will save the municipality money and will be convenient for the mayor. The SALGA handbook allows for the replacement of the mayor’s official vehicle if it has exceeded 150 000km, the mileage on the previous vehicle stood at 173 000km.”
“We also have to purchase an SUV, considering the terrain that we operate in. The mayor has to travel to mountainous rural areas to engage communities. He also needs a reliable vehicle for official trips outside the municipality. We have purchased a vehicle that is standard and is used by a majority of mayors, MECs etc. all over the country,” Ndlala added.
“It is also misleading and demeaning for the DA to suggest that buying a vehicle for a mayor is wasteful and fruitless. The expenditure might be irregular, but it is far from wasteful or fruitless. The purchase was done above board and through deviation, which is legally permissible. The cost of the vehicle does not exceed the amount allowed for the purchase of vehicles for mayors,” he said.
After calls for the Emalahleni council in Mpumalanga to scrap buying a luxury vehicle for its new mayor with the R1.5-million service delivery budget, the municipality has confirmed that they are still going through with the purchase.
The car will be funded from money left over from the service delivery projects in Emalahleni Local Municipality, Mpumalanga, and in defence of the purchase, municipal spokesperson Lebo Mofokeng said all processes had been followed.
According to The Sowetan, Mofokeng explained Mayor Lindiwe Ntshalintshali was currently driving a Toyota Lexus with a mileage of 124 813 kilometres, and an extended motor plan had been purchased at a cost of R43 000.
– Caxton News Service