Sita boss un­der fire over lux­ury car hire splurge

The Sunday Independent - - News -

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.”

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