The Democratic Alliance (DA) is calling for a moratorium to be placed on the purchase of all new official vehicles for municipal political office bearers in the province.
In response to parliamentary questions by the DA, Eastern Cape MEC for CoGTA, Xolile Nqatha, revealed how vehicles to the value of R26,8 million had been purchased to transport political office bearers in Eastern Cape Municipalities between 2016 and 2021.
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This figure includes extravagant purchases such as an R1,4 million vehicle by the King Sabata Dalinyebo Local Municipality and an R1,1 million vehicle by the Winnie Madikizela Mandela Local Municipality, both purchased in 2019.
With no less than 24 of the 39 Eastern Cape Municipalities facing severe financial difficulties, spending any public funding on extravagant expenditures such as official vehicles for politicians is unacceptable.
The 2020 Auditor-General (AG) report stated that 83% of Eastern Cape municipalities have significant cash flow constraints. The AG also revealed that 38% have expenses exceeding their income.
The purchase of official vehicles for Executive Mayors and Speakers of Councils is governed by the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) Cost Containment Regulations, 2019 (Government Gazette 42514 published 7 June 2019).
In terms of this gazette, the threshold limit for vehicle purchases relating to official use by political office-bearers must not exceed R700 000. It is also stipulated that any such vehicle purchased for official use by political office bearers may not be replaced on or before completion of at least 120 000 kilometres.
The DA is calling for a moratorium to be placed on the replacement of all vehicles for political office bearers in Eastern Cape Municipalities.
Given the dismal financial state of municipalities in the Eastern Cape, politicians driving around in fancy vehicles in a province with the highest unemployment rate in the country is immoral and disconnected from reality.