Probe eThek­wini mayor’s abuse of R4m, says DA

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - SAMKELO MTSHALI

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

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