eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo File photo: Siyanda Mayeza

Readers may have been left with an impression of a mayor who is on a spending spree, which is far from the truth, says Thabo Mofokeng.

Durban - The story in the Daily News (and published on IOL under the headline “DA fumes over mayor’s R3m fleet”) refers.

While the story contains factual information as discussed by the Executive Committee on Tuesday, 20 May, it is regrettable that the newspaper has sought to sensationalise the facts in a manner that portrays the mayor, Councillor James Nxumalo, in a negative light.

Firstly, the headline used for the story in the Daily News (“Our Mayor’s R3m fleet approved”), is highly sensational, creating an impression the mayor is purchasing six luxury vehicles for his own personal use.

The fact is that the mayoral fleet is for use by all office bearers, including the mayor, deputy mayor and the Speaker, as well as other councillors who may be assigned to represent the mayor at official functions. These vehicles are also used to ferry international dignitaries who visit the city from time to time, especially as part of the municipality’s sister city co-operation agreements with other international cities.

Any person who may have read your headline or street poster, together with the accompanying picture collage, without reading the substance of the story, could justifiably be left with an impression of a mayor who is on a spending spree, which is far from the truth.

The facts are as follows.

The Exco approved the purchase of six vehicles to replace old cars in the mayoral fleet. The current fleet consists of vehicles that have clocked a mileage of up to 388 000km and are prone to mechanical breakdowns. The vehicles to be replaced are:

* NDM1: BMW 750i (2008 model, 148 000 km);

* NDM 4: BMW 320i (2008 model, 165 000 km);

* NDM 5; BMW 320i (2008 model, 141 000 km);

* BMW 320i (2008 model, 191 000 km).

* NDM Land Cruiser (2001 model, 388 000 km)

* NDM 9: Toyota Prado (2012 model, accident write-off).

Exco praised the mayor for approving the replacement vehicles with modest pricing and adhering to a national Treasury directive for a conservative approach in the purchase of municipal vehicles.

Exco approved the purchase of the following vehicles:

* The BMW 750i (current identical model will cost R1 101 972) will be replaced with either the BMW 520d at a cost of R498 380 or a Mercedes Benz E200 Elegance at a cost of R542 037;

* Three BMW 320is will be replaced by same models with automatic transmissions at a cost of R353 473 each;

* The Toyota Land Cruiser 200 VX (current identical model costs R980 020) will be replaced with the Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6 Overland at a cost of R588 999;

* The Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (current identical model is R665 487) will be replaced by the Toyota Fortuner 3.0 at a cost of R410 780.

The mayor has shown great leadership, firstly by following national Treasury regulations, and secondly, by using vehicles much less in value than those being used by other municipalities with less status than eThekwini Metro.

Thabo Mofokeng

eThekwini Municipal spokesman

* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.

Daily News