THE Makana Municipality is forging ahead with plans to buy a new vehicle for mayor Zamuxolo Peter, with R800000 budgeted from Grahamstown’s saving reserves.
This has outraged some councillors who said there was nothing wrong with the BMW X5 Peter was using and that the money should rather be used to address the city’s crumbling infrastructure.
However, Makana support services manager Edward Ganza said the vehicle replacement was necessary.
He said the municipality would go out to tender for the mayoral vehicle in a week or two. "We are replacing a vehicle which is not economical to maintain.”
Ganza said the mayoral vehicle had been bought in 2008 and Peter had inherited it from the former mayor.
The vehicle was too expensive to maintain and had to be serviced in Port Elizabeth, which meant Peter often had to arrange for a temporary vehicle. "The R800000 is sourced from our internal savings.”
Ganza said the vehicle would not necessarily cost that much.
"You can’t pre-empt tenders. The remainder of the money will still be in the coffers, it will not go anywhere.”
The existing vehicle would be traded in as part of the deal and it was hoped this would lower the amount needed.
The DA in the Makana council said there would be serious problems in Makana if the municipality spent R800000 for a mayoral vehicle.
DA councillor Les Reynolds said approval of the R800000 for the vehicle had gone into the capital budget against the party’s will. "If our poor municipality spends R800000, there will be serious problems.”
Makana Independent New Deal councillor Devon Waldick said the amount was exorbitant. "What’s wrong with the BMW X5 he has now?”
Another Makana councillor said the decision was ridiculous.
"There is a controversy over cars at this price for the Durban council, and Makana wants to buy a vehicle at the same value with a municipal budget that’s tiny in comparison.
"Following that logic, we should be buying our mayor a Citi Golf.
"The gravy train, it seems, has 4x4 wheels these days.
"The have-nots still have bucket toilets, the bulk water and sewerage system infrastructure is in tatters, the people of Joza still struggle with water.
"Our informal settlements are crammed full and the roads are still crumbling, but the mayor wants a top- of-the-range R800000 4x4.
"On reflection, if the roads deteriorate any further, he may need one just to get to work.”