While residents are forced to travel on potholed roads, risk their lives and damage to their vehicles due to a shortage of funds for maintenance, the Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Transport has blown through R68 million on accident-damaged state-owned vehicles over the past three years.
Transport MEC Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe must take action against departments and their officials who do not look after state-owned resources.
This level of wastage is completely unacceptable and raises serious concerns about the misuse and abuse of state-owned vehicles by officials.
In response to a parliamentary question, MEC Tikana-Gxothiwe revealed that over the past three financial years, the province had written off vehicles collectively valued at just over R26 million.
The province had also spent an additional R39 million on repairing accident-damaged vehicles over the same time period.
MEC Tikana-Gxothiwe said the province had only charged R3,2 million from Eastern Cape departments who had been found to be negligent, or who had not been authorised to make use of the provincially owned vehicle at the time of the accident.
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Belts will have to be tightened and the abuse and wastage of state resources stopped immediately.
The under-recovery of charges from departments is worrying. It is an extreme loss in revenue, which this Department cannot afford.
I will be asking MEC Tikana-Gxothiwe follow-up questions as to how she plans on recovering the charged departments and to provide a report on each accident, with the view of recovering costs of damages from officials where they have been at fault.
The DA believes that, in our current economic climate, it is important to ensure that any prospective revenue for the province is efficiently managed. It is also vital that department officials who have transgressed and broken the law are held accountable.