Msunduzi Municipality has taken action against an employee who was recorded abusing a municipal vehicle on Sunday morning.
The municipality, however, would not be drawn to give details of why the employee was in possession of the vehicle and whether the employee was still at work.
In the video clip taken by a cellphone, the hatchback vehicle with registration plate NPC 522 was being revved with the driver seemingly encouraged by the onlookers who were whistling and daring him to drift.
The vehicle is seen drifting in a circle and the shooter of the video clip, or someone standing closer to him or her is heard saying “Look, municipal vehicles. This is how municipal employees abuse them”.
Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Ntobeko Mkhize said, “The municipality is aware of the video that is circulating on the social media platforms”.
“An investigation has been conducted and disciplinary processes are being implemented in line with the disciplinary collective agreement. The municipal vehicles are to be solely utilised to discharge the municipality’s responsibilities for the benefit of its stakeholders,” said Mkhize, adding that the municipality condemned the incident.
“We are appealing to anyone who witnesses any inappropriate behaviour by municipal employees to report it immediately. The municipality will not hesitate to act in events where employees abuse council property; that is against the code of conduct and therefore, such misconduct will never be condoned as it puts the municipality into disrepute,” she said.
Msunduzi employees are no stranger to the controversial use of municipal vehicles for their personal benefit.
A recent forensic investigation report by the city’s internal audit revealed ongoing abuse of municipal vehicles and fraudulent overtime claims by at least three employees.
The Witness reported early this month that a senior manager was also implicated for failing to act after being informed about the alleged abuses. According to the (audit) report, there were many other allegations of this nature that were being investigated.
IFP councillor in Msunduzi Thinasonke Ntombela said there was an Exco decision that anyone found to be misusing or doing anything irregular with the fleet of the council, if found to be guilty, he /she should no longer be allowed to use any fleet of the council and consequent management should also be applied to whoever is involved.
“The decision also included expulsion. Like in the case of the car in the video clip, this should be investigated and after getting all the evidence, consequence management should be applied,” said Ntombela.
He said councillors were concerned about the number of vehicles that were constantly in and out of the workshop for repairs.
The DA’s Ross Strachan said if employees were abusing, misusing, or performing incidents of misconduct and corruption then consequence management must be implemented without fear or favour.
“If this is not done then senior management must then be held accountable. Unfortunately, this is not being done, and officials can basically do what they please and when they please without intervention. The DA will continue to place pressure and pursue the relevant officials who are not following due process or are responsible for mismanagement,” he said.