Avatar photo

By Enkosi Selane

Digital Journalist

DA, EFF unite against Sedibeng mayor’s luxury car purchase in struggling municipality

The Sedibeng council has agreed to remove an allocation of R700 000 for the mayor's car replacement from its budget.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Sedibeng called out the Sedibeng District Municipality mayor for not realising her priorities on providing basic services to the people of her municipality.

On Thursday, the EFF said the R700 000 expansion of the municipality’s budget, which was reserved for purchasing the mayor a new car, had been scrapped.

This follows the Democratic Alliance’s opposition to the mayor receiving a new car. The party’s MPL Kingsol Chabalala said a recent report tabled in council showed an increase of municipal capital expenditure budget for the 2023/2024 financial year.

Both the DA and EFF said Sedibeng could not afford to stretch its budget for the mayor’s luxury, especially while the community she is supposed to be serving faced poor service delivery.

‘Mayor does not deserve another car’

In a recent statement, the EFF expressed its displeasure over what it viewed as an unjustified budget adjustment by Sedibeng District Municipality, which would pave the way for the mayor to purchase the new car worth R700 000.

The party argued that this expense was not necessary and demanded for its removal from the budget to which “the council agreed to this rationale”.

“We strongly believe that the mayor does not deserve another car, and a report on the current car’s status must be presented to the council,” the party’s statement read.

The EFF called on the mayor to stop “fixating” on residing in a palace and splurging on lavish expenses on herself.

Furthermore, they emphasised that the mayor’s focus should be on serving the residents of Sedibeng and delivering adequate basic services such as roads, electricity and water.

The party noted the stark contrast of Sedibeng Municipality’s budget which it receives annually from the national government compared to its neighbouring local councils.

According to the EFF, Sedibeng is allocated a budget of R400 million, whereas Emfuleni Local municipality gets approximately R8 billion, the Midvaal council gets R2 billion, and Lesedi Municipality receives R1.2 billion.

Sugar allegedly found in car engine

According to Chabalala the mayor had been bought a Mercedes-Benz GLB (X247) in 2022, which cost R696 611.99. However, she allegedly did not use it because it was not what she asked for.

“The same unwanted car broke down due to a foreign substance, allegedly sugar granules, found in the engine, estimated to cost the municipality R398 000 to repair,” Chabalala said.

He said the municipality’s actions demonstrated a disregard for the needs of its residents, as resources were being wasted on one individual.

Chabalala highlighted the DA’s satisfaction with the Sedibeng council’s withdrawal of the mayor’s car purchase from the municipal capital expenditure budget.

“The DA will continue to observe how this financially struggling municipality is spending its money, we will not hesitate to expose them,” Chabalala added.

‘Municipality financial position of great concern’

Sedibeng District Municipality admitted that the proposed purchase for the mayor’s car was a part of a list on all expenditure items to be considered for allocation by the Sedibeng District Municipality.

However, “it was not supported by all Councillors present including the Executive Mayor,” the municipality’s statement read.

Furthermore, according to the council the mayor’s car purchased was scrapped because there is another car being used by the executive mayor, and that she would proceed traveling with the old vehicle.

In terms of the budget of the car, the municipality said this amount was relocated to the operating budget.

“Our approach to priority budgeting is still done the same way ever since in terms of stipulation of the MFMA and it is not different in 2024,” added the council.

Moreover, Sedibeng municipality said it had given thought to collaborating with private corporations in order to address the concerns raised by the municipality’s financial situation and the need for improved service delivery.

“Acting consistently with the previous State of the District Address, the municipality financial position is of
great concern hence we have given consideration to foster Private partnership in all strategic areas needing money where we cannot afford and emphasize on getting value for money on long term basis wherein we save on the implementation costs to be in a better position e.g. Refurbishment and Upgrade of the Vereeniging Fresh Produce Market and the Government Precinct,” their statement read.