Zandile Gumede's luxury city-owned cars taken from her and 'dumped'
The Daily News was tipped off about the city’s official vehicles being “dumped” at the centre opposite the Durban station. The vehicles are a 5-series BMW, two 3-series BMWs and a Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The mileage on all four vehicles is not clear nor is when the vehicles were commissioned.
A municipal official said it seemed Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda would be receiving a new vehicle for security reasons, but the municipality did not respond to this particular question.
The Daily News sought clarity from the city on the issue, asking about the security allegation, if new vehicles would be purchased for the mayor, deputy and the speaker, the value of the vehicles and the mileage on all four vehicles particularly the 5-series and 3 series BMWs, which were used by the former mayor and deputy mayor respectively.
In response, mayoral spokesperson Mluleki Mntungwa said: “The mayor has just been two weeks in toffice and we are busy finalising the transition from the provincial government to the municipality. Some of the issues you are raising are part of this process.”
The municipal official, who asked not to be named, said there was no report on the past performance of the vehicles including the mileage covered, which would have been the basis for replacement of the vehicles.
“If he (Kaunda) is getting new vehicles, does that make financial sense given that he will be in office for less than two years? I really think that there are trust issues here,” said the official. It is understood that Kaunda is currently driving a Pietermaritzburg-registered state vehicle.
Nicole Graham, DA caucus leader in eThekwini, said: “The abuse of perks and security has been happening for a long time in this city, so I think it’s important that someone explains what’s going on. I think this is certainly suspicious that some NDM cars are being used and others not The current vehicles are perfectly fine and the municipality certainly doesn’t need to spend more money on new cars, if that is the plan.” Mdu Nkosi, IFP councillor said it was important that the city produced the service record of the existing vehicles if the plan was to purchase new ones.
“Does the city fleet have a budget to purchase new vehicles? Failure by the city to provide answers to the questions regarding these vehicles means that there was no plan in place to procure the vehicles, and that the sitting mayor will be in office for about two years. We will question this once it’s brought to exco.”