Committee wants to scrutinise neglected state cars: Daily Dispatch

THE provincial legislature’s portfolio committee on transport is considering an oversight visit to the Eastern Cape’s three provincial garages.

This follows a Dispatch report which exposed how more than R100-million worth of fleet vehicles had been left to rot and their parts stripped as the state failed to auction them off.

Speaking to the Daily Dispatch yesterday, committee chairwoman Ntombizodwa Xhanti said when she heard about the condition of the vehicles in the garages, she planned to make a formal request to the legislature to approve the visits.

“As the chairperson I noted this yesterday [Wednesday] while were at another meeting that there are these problems.

“I spoke with my researcher and coordinator to say we must have this kind of a visit,” she said.

On Wednesday the DA’s shadow MEC for transport Marshall von Buchenroder claimed he had written to Xhanti to request the visit to get a “comprehensive and clear underst of the operation at the three garages. The disgraceful neglect by the department of transport to adequately manage state assets cannot continue. In a cash-strapped province like ours, every cent must be spent wisely.”

“Instead, vehicles to the value of an estimated R100-million are rotting away and being stripped for parts by criminals at the depots in East London, Mthatha and Port Elizabeth,” he said.

However, Xhanti said she had not received any written submission from Von Buchenroder.

“I have not yet received such a letter. We were both in another portfolio committee for health and this issue was raised there. Because I’m the head for transport, I took note of that,” she said.

A Dispatch investigation into the rotting fleet uncovered how the stateowned cars in the three government garages in the province were being stripped for parts, including engines.

The investigation further revealed that, at the West Bank garage, at least 45 vehicles had been stripped of their ignitions, a Toyota Prado was missing its engine and some vehicles had been stripped of their bumpers. — siphem@dispatch.co.za