Sita boss under fire over luxury car hire splurge
Baloyi further stated that in February last year, the FML initiated market research which led to a business case to procure an executive vehicle through a National Treasury transversal contract. “While undertaking the market research, FML was granted authority to acquire a temporary vehicle through the in-house travel platform,” Baloyi stated.
Sources said Sita leased a Mercedes-Benz C180 for Mohapi at R190 860.59 every three months through Avis.
Apart from Avis, Sita had received quotations of R229 540 from Europcar with limited mileage and R227 240 from Bidvest.
When initially approached for comment, Sita’s head of communications, Lucky Mochalibane, disputed the amounts, insisting that they never paid this to Avis.
“Sita refutes the figure of R190 000 per three-month interval that you are alluding to. The documents you are quoting from are obscured from Sita management and their figure is far removed from the monthly estimates of between R18 180 and R24 840 that the agency was quoted by Duma Travel Management Services in relation to the transaction pertaining to the leasing of the vehicle for the chief executive.
“From experience, rental of an executive car in South Africa normally costs about R650 per day, and over 30 days that can amount to R19 500 excluding the fuel costs. From the quotations received from Duma Travel, it is clear that Sita did not pay the kind of amount (claimed),” said Mochalibane.
However, Rasikhinya contradicted this and admitted that the agency did in fact pay R190 000. Another contradiction arose from the time the car was leased from Avis.
Mochalibane said the lease for the chief executive’s car started after September 2016, adding that the initial lease with Avis for 45 cars ended in June and September. Rasikhinya, however, was adamant that the lease ended in December 2016.
She admitted that the lease was costly. “The e-mail I got suggested we would be paying similar to what had been the case previously, but it took longer than we all expected. We told them it’s supposed to be a temporary solution. Obviously, it was expensive because it was not a permanent solution,” she said.
Rasikhinya blamed the ballooning costs on a miscalculation of the required kilometres. She said the lease was taken at 100km per day. She added that she was initially given a quotation which had the calculations at R60 000 for three months.
Stera Senti, executive, MultiStakeholder Projects, defended the move and said it was an allowable process which was not designed to be a permanent solution. He added that such costs came with the requirements of a chief executive doing his work.
“It is the cost of a chief executive officer delivering his duties. This is purely above-board,” Senti said.
Sources, however, questioned the agreement with Avis, particularly the kilometre allocations for the lease. The request by Baloyi stipulated that the estimated utilisation and travel rate would be for 14 dropoffs, about 56 trips. The kilometres a day were 500km and 7 000km a month.
They alleged that the chief executive was using the vehicle in his personal capacity as well. They questioned why he had to be picked up from his house while he earned enough money to afford a personal vehicle.
“He gets picked up and dropped off at home using the vehicle. He is supposed to arrive at the office in his own car and then be taken to meetings using the company car, but that has not been the case,” said one source.
Another employee said it was a different case with the previous chief executive, who attended meetings using his own car. “This is not justifiable and it’s unnecessary. He should be driving his own car.”