Which ma­yor has the most ex­pen­si­ve car?

Knysna-Plett Herald - - Voorblad - Yo­lan­dé S­tan­der

Knys­na on­ly paying R13 000

Whi­le the­re is a mo­vement in se­ver­al ma­jor mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties throug­hout the coun­try to tig­h­ten the belt w­hen it co­mes to spen­ding on luxu­ry vehi­cles for ma­yors and ot­her high-ran­king of­fi­ci­als, it has co­me to lig­ht that Bi­tou ra­te­pay­ers are for­king out just short of R60 000 a month for a luxu­ry SUV for its ma­yor.

Bi­tou is re­por­ted­ly the se­cond smal­le­st lo­cal mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty in terms of a­rea – just o­ver 900sq km – in the We­stern Ca­pe, and with its less than 60 000 re­si­dents, falls in the top 10 smal­le­st mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties in the pro­vin­ce in terms of po­pu­la­ti­on.

Ac­cor­ding to do­cu­ments in the pos­ses­si­on of Knys­na-P­lett He­rald (KPH), the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty is spen­ding R58 140 a month for the ren­tal of a sil­ver Vol­vo SUV for ma­yor Pe­ter Lo­be­se.

KPH has al­so re­li­a­bly le­arnt that this is a­bout six ti­mes mo­re than w­hat was spent on the p­re­vi­ous ma­yor’s Ford Ku­ga.

A list of que­s­ti­ons per­tai­ning to this ex­pen­se and the mo­ti­va­ti­on be­hind it was sent to the ma­yor’s spo­kes­per­son Du­mi­sa­ni M­we­ba, but he fai­led to re­spond be­fo­re going to print. “I ha­ve for­war­ded such [que­s­ti­ons] to mu­ni­ci­pal ma­na­ger T­ha­bo Nd­lo­vu to sa­tisfy him­self with the re­spon­ses. I will on­ly ma­ke a sta­te­ment af­ter my of­fi­ce has been ad­vi­sed,” M­we­ba said.

In the me­an­ti­me, Knys­na’s mu­ni­ci­pal ma­na­ger Kam C­het­ty said the ma­yo­ral vehi­cle was a 14-y­e­ar-old C Class Mer­ce­des-Benz, but that it had now been de­com­mis­si­o­ned due to age and me­cha­ni­cal pro­blems. He ad­ded that a ten­der would be put out for an “af­for­da­ble vehi­cle” to re­pla­ce it.

“Cur­rent­ly the Knys­na mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty pays R13 000 per month, which in­clu­des the ser­vi­ce, main­te­nan­ce and le­a­se of a Rav 4,” C­het­ty said, ad­ding that he and the ma­yor felt this a­mount could be re­du­ced.

“Coun­cil has re­cent­ly re­sol­ved for the ma­yo­ral vehi­cle to be le­a­sed through a ten­der pro­cess, at the cost of R6 000 per month. This ten­der pro­cess is still in pro­gress.”

In Ge­or­ge, mu­ni­ci­pal spo­kes­per­son C­han­tal Ed­wards-K­lo­se said that the 2017/18 bud­ge­ted a­mount for vehi­cles for the of­fi­ce of the ma­yor was R281 700 for the y­e­ar, which co­mes to a­bout R23 500 a month. This is, ho­we­ver, for two vehi­cles

– a 2001 Mer­ce­des Benz E240 and a 2016 Toyo­ta For­tu­ner 4x4 Die­sel – and in­clu­des all fu­el and main­te­nan­ce cos­ts.

In ot­her neig­hbou­ring towns it is a si­mi­lar sce­na­rio. Nel­son Man­de­la Bay ma­yor At­hol Trol­lip has al­so within the last y­e­ar ban­ned the pur­cha­se of luxu­ry vehi­cles.

Af­ter he took of­fi­ce the­re was a pro­po­sal to pro­cu­re an Au­di Q5 for the de­pu­ty ma­yor‚ as the ex­is­ting vehi­cle was no lon­ger ser­vi­ce­a­ble. Trol­lip, ho­we­ver, de­ci­ded that a VW Ti­guan would be mo­re suit­a­ble. In Nel­son Man­de­la Bay the ma­yo­ral vehi­cle is ful­ly spon­so­red by Volks­wa­gen. Tshwa­ne ma­yor Sol­ly M­si­man­ga has in­sti­tu­ted a si­mi­lar ban.

Last month, eMa­lahle­ni re­si­dents sta­ged a pro­test o­ver a plan to buy the be­le­a­gue­red mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty’s ma­yor Lin­di­we Nts­ha­lints­ha­li a R1.5-mil­li­on vehi­cle. Mu­ni­ci­pal ma­na­ger T­heo van Vuur­en pro­po­sed to coun­cil that he ta­ke mo­ney for the vehi­cle from bud­get rol­lo­vers from the p­re­vi­ous fi­nan­ci­al y­e­ar. The com­mu­ni­ty of the suburb of Tas­bet Park sta­ged a pro­test march a­gainst this plan­ned pur­cha­se be­cau­se they did not ha­ve wa­ter.

P­ho­to: Yo­lan­de S­tan­der

This luxu­ry SUV cos­ts Bi­tou ra­te­pay­ers al­most R60 000 a month.

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