Speaker in hot wa­ter over car crash

‘Is not sup­posed to drive, not us­ing of­fi­cial chauf­feur’

The Sunday Independent - - News - BALD­WIN NDABA

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.

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