eThekwini says its vehicles are monitored to avoid abuse

Councillor Mzamo Billy, the eThekwini Municipality DA deputy caucus leader. Photo: Supplied

Councillor Mzamo Billy, the eThekwini Municipality DA deputy caucus leader. Photo: Supplied

Published Feb 18, 2024


Durban — The eThekwini Municipality’s fleet of approximately 8 000 vehicles came under scrutiny at a recent council meeting to assure residents that vehicles were not being abused.

Councillor Mzamo Billy, the eThekwini Municipality DA deputy caucus leader said the City has a fleet management policy approved in 2017 which seeks to ensure that all fleets in the city are managed and operated following certain rules and procedures. Billy said it is prudent to ascertain if the administration operates in line with these to ensure there is no abuse of municipal vehicles.

In January, the Daily News reported on an incident where a concerned member of the public recorded a municipal employee asleep, while seated in the driver’s seat of a municipal vehicle, with the door open, at the Watercrest Shopping Mall in Kloof.

In March 2022, a video circulated on social media showing footage of a municipal employee drinking alcohol with other occupants believed to also be employed by the City, inside a Durban Solid Waste (DSW) vehicle at a beach in Amanzimtoti.

At the council meeting, the municipality stated that it has a total fleet size of approximately 8000 vehicles which includes light vehicles, trucks, heavy plant and buses.

The municipal City fleet has been allocated 3 363 vehicles, the eThekwini Water Services 2 088, the Cleansing and Solid Waste unit CSW) 630 and the electricity unit 1 798 vehicles.

Billy was also concerned about the Audit Committee report for the first quarter ended September 30, 2023, which revealed that the shortage of vehicles was hindering the performance of the Water and Sanitation Unit.

The municipality in its response to Billy, stated that trading services units EWS, CSW and electricity have dedicated fleet personnel that provide fleet management support.

Billy also requested details on how many staff members took home municipal vehicles between July 1, 2021 and December 1, 2023 and what positions did the drivers hold.

The municipality skirted around the issue in their response by stating that the primary objective of the municipality is to provide services to the communities, as a result some units have 24 hours/7 days a week operation.

“These units provide essential services. In meeting their service delivery mandates, the units have formed standby teams that can attend to service delivery issues immediately. The standby teams are granted permission by the unit heads to take vehicles home while on standby. This enables the teams to immediately respond to call outs,” stated the municipality.

The municipality said the number of vehicles taken home varies based on the operational demands of the units providing the essential services.

“As part of minimising vehicle abuse, City Fleet generates and communicates ‘after hour usage’ reports which get communicated with the relevant unit heads. City Fleet developed protocols and procedures that must be followed by the departments when granting permission for after-hour usage,” stated the municipality.

The City said that all the vehicles are fitted with a vehicle tracking device which helps them monitor vehicles.

The municipality has managed to dispose of 1 392 vehicles that have reached their optimal lifespan since July 1, 2021 and July 2023.

The municipality stated that the disposal is conducted through a public auction process in line with the supply chain management.

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