Probe eThekwini mayor’s abuse of R4m, says DA
THE DA in eThekwini has urged the city manager, Sipho Nzuza, to launch an independent investigation into the R4 million used by the city to buy “luxury” cars for the protection of Zandile Gumede while she was a mayoral candidate.
DA caucus leader in eThekwini Zwakele Mncwango has accused mayor Gumede of abusing her former position as the chairperson of the municipality’s safety and security cluster by using up to eight of the 51 cars that had been bought.
Mncwango has written a letter, calling on Nzuza to launch a probe.
He said Nzuza had acknowledged receipt of the letter on Thursday.
“I’m not sure how he is going to move forward, but he did acknowledge receiving the letter,” Mncwango said.
In the letter to Nzuza, Mncwango said: “This letter is to bring your office to the attention of a receipt of a recent audit report that the current executive mayor of eThekwini, councillor Zandile Gumede, has been party to the misappropriation of public funds and resources.”
According to Mncwango’s letter, the report found that the city had procured and hired 51 vehicles in the build-up to the 2016 local government elections.
Eight of the cars, which include German brands BMW and Audi and American bakkie Ford Ranger, were allocated for the protection of Gumede, then a mayoral candidate.
“The hiring of high-end vehicles in a municipality with a fleet of metro police personnel and city vehicles best suitable for the situation is not only careless, but is borderline corruption at best,” said Mncwango.
He said there had been a long-running concern with the city’s fleet management and the issue of the abuse of metro police cars, with some having travelled to areas outside their jurisdiction such as Empangeni, Port Shepstone and even as far as Joburg.
Mncwango said a report into the city’s fleet management had shown that cars needed by metro police, such as vans, had not been bought, and instead high-speed hatchbacks, which were unnecessary, were purchased.
Mncwango also said all those involved in the procurement should be held fully accountable by the recommendations of Nzuza’s investigation.
“We want the investigation to be independent so that those investigating are not threatened, so that they can make tough recommendations.
Gumede’s spokesperson, Mthunzi Gumede, noted that the letter had not been sent to them.
“The mayor doesn’t hire cars, she uses municipal cars. This is a publicity stunt by the DA, and you guys are falling for it,” Gumede said.
Spent on luxury cars for her protection at poll