ANC-led Sekhukhune under fire for renting BMW SUVs for R320K monthly

The troubled Sekhukhune district municipality, which was exposed for buying 24 laptops for a whopping R1-million last year, is in the mud again, this time for hiring two German machines for R140 000 each monthly.

The municipality is paying R320 000 inclusive of value added tax on the two BMW X5 SUVs, despite the ANC government’s stated intentions to cut down on expenditure and put restrictions on vehicles that politicians are eligible to use.

The ministerial handbook, which is silent on the amount that politicians can use to hire vehicles, is, however, clear: a purchased vehicle for official use may not exceed an amount of R700 000 for ministers, MECs and mayors.

Insiders and opposition in the Sekhukhune municipality insist the expenditure of over R300 000 on the SUVs in a struggling municipality is excessive. “We cannot rent a car for R140 000. We should not allow such nonsense. The fleet manager and the CFO need to be held accountable for such waste,” said a senior person within the municipality.

“Also, the mayor and the speaker who are using these vehicles are doing something wrong because, since there is talk of belt-tightening, the best car they qualify for is an X3, not an X5. They are now running around trying to spin that it happened before the current regime because the last payment they made was in October last year to protect the mayor who came in November, but it is the same administration.”

 Sunday World has seen an invoice from NMP Trading and Projects to the municipality placing the amounts for each of the German beasts at R139 130.43 “monthly rate excluding VAT.” The total amount the municipality has been paying “including VAT” is a staggering R160 000 per vehicle.

 Sekhukhune opposition leader, Seun Mogotsi of the Bolsheviks Party, slammed the provincial government for ignoring the wasteful expenditure.

 In 2019, then KwaZulu-Natala MEC for education, Kwazi Mshengu, found himself in hot water for making use of a hired BMW X7 at a cost of R100 000 per month. The Sunday Times, at the time, reported that Mshengu had argued he could not use a state vehicle that was used by his predecessor.

When their waste was exposed, the newspaper reported that, officials in that office allegedly forged a letter purportedly from Mercedes Benz advising Mshengu not to use the vehicle that was used by his predecessor as it was apparently damaged. That, however, proved to have been a desperate attempt to shield Mshengu for wasting state funds. He was reported to the public protector.

The overspending by Sekhukhune will apparently be reflected in the auditor-general (AG)’s next report on expenditure at municipalities. “Watch out for the next AG’s report on the financial affairs of the municipality. The office has already flagged the issue of the BMWs, saying the municipality was overcharged,” said an insider.

This newspaper recently reported about how the municipality appointed Hendrick Nkadimeng as CFO without following the correct procedures. Nkadimeng was appointed despite being “not competent” and now presides over the finances of the municipality, with two qualified candidates having been snubbed.

NMP boss, Phethelo Bopape and the municipality, elected not to respond to our questions. “We are not commenting on the matter,” said municipal spokesperson
Lemson Moropyane.

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