KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu is without a car after Mercedes-Benz South African (MBSA) cancelled the warranty and maintenance contract on his official vehicle and also recalled his courtesy car.
“MBSA confirmed it had appointed an independent investigator to conduct an investigation into the cause of the damage to the vehicle.
“Based on the report, MBSA has elected to cancel the warranty and maintenance contract. It has also recalled the courtesy car that had been allocated to the MEC,” the provincial education department said in a statement on Thursday.
Mshengu was recently accused of a car rental scam to justify not using the official vehicle of his predecessor, Mthandeni Dlungwane.
According to the Sunday Times, officials in Mshengu’s department allegedly forged a letter from a Mercedes-Benz dealership advising him not to make use of a one-year-old Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 because it was unsafe and could place his life at risk.
MBSA confirmed to the publication that it had not authorised the letter.
The car is believed to have cost taxpayers R103,776.12 a month since Mshengu took office in May.
He, however, said he remained concerned about the amounts “associated with” cars in the department.
“Given the fact that between 2016 and 2018, the department bought a BMW X5 at a cost of R1.19m and a Mercedes-Benz 350 at a cost of R1.27m – both cars are no longer usable for the MEC’s official duties,” the statement read.
Mshengu has since written to Premier Sihle Zikalala on how to deal with the matter.
“In the meantime, the head of department in KwaZulu-Natal continues to pursue the matter with all officials who were given the responsibility to attend to the issue of the official vehicle for the MEC,” the statement said.