Speaker in hot water over car crash
‘Is not supposed to drive, not using official chauffeur’
ANEWLY appointed Speaker of a North West municipality is in hot water for allegedly damaging a state vehicle worth R500 000 after barely a month in office. Councillor Oabile Seabelo of Ratlou local municipality in Setlagole outside Mahikeng was elected Speaker of Council on March 2, following the resignation of one of the ANC councillors in that town.
His salary package included a monthly car allowance of R9 000, and he is barred from driving or using a state vehicle for personal use, according to the Ratlou municipality’s Fleet Management Policy: “Employees of council who are entitled to subsidised transport scheme and duly reimbursed for the use of the respective vehicle in performing their duties, are not allowed to drive or use official vehicles”.
The council consists of 28 members, including Mayor Tebogo Modise. The mayor, Seabelo and four members of the mayoral committee each get monthly car allowances of R9 000y, while the other councillors each get allowance R4 900. None is allowed to use state vehicles.
In November last year, the council appointed an official driver at a monthly salary of R30 000, in the office of Speaker to chauffeur Seabelo for all official duties.
But, according to official opposition the DA, Seabelo on March 29 became involved in an accident while driving an official state vehicle.
He allegedly hit four donkeys in the rural town of Madibogo, killing all four of them instantly.
Seabelo, who survived the crash, declined to comment and said he gave a detailed response to the municipal manager Jonas Molefe.
Molefe, confirmed that Seabelo was not allowed to drive a municipal vehicle. Molefe said the council would discuss the matter if the DA tables the motion for discussion.
DA councillor Edward Mothibedi said Seabelo was apparently refusing to use the official driver who had been appointed to chauffeur him.
“The people of Ratlou need answers about why the Speaker is simply refusing to make use of the officially appointed driver to chauffeur as indicated in the five-year contract.
“The driver’s contract will only expire in 2021 and is costing the people of Ratlou almost R2 million for over the five year contract period,” Mothibedi said.
He said the duties of the official driver were to update the car’s logbook, take care of the maintenance schedule and assist with fleet management.
According to Mothibedi, the official driver reports for duty on a daily basis but sits around in the council corridors.
“We are unsure why the Speaker is excluding the official driver and doesn’t allow him to execute his official duties.
“We also have concerns around who is fulfilling his duties to ensure transparency and control in the use of official vehicles,” Mothibedi said.
He expressed concerns that the taxpayers would now be expected to foot the bill to fix the damaged municipal vehicle.
BASHED: The newly appointed Speaker of a North West municipality caused damage to an official vehicle last week.
HOT WATER: Councillor Oabile Seabelo of Ratlou local municipality in Setlagole outside Mahikeng.