Durban - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in eThekwini said on Monday that it was not convinced by the African National Congress' (ANC) answers on how supporters of embattled eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede acquired city buses that ferried them to and from a protest demanding her suspension be lifted.
Hundreds of supporters marched to the ANC provincial office on Tuesday last week, demanding that the decision to place her on a 30-days leave of absence be reversed with immediate effect.
The ANC in KZN requested Gumede to take the leave of absence after she was charged with fraud and corruption with regard to a R208 million Durban Solid Waste tender.
Her supporters, including a few ANC councillors, were dropped off by municipal buses at Durban’s North Beach where their march to the provincial office started.
Nicole Graham, the DA's eThekwini caucus leader, said the ANC has been using municipal buses to ferry people wherever they choose.
Graham said that Transnat, a black consortium that operates the bus system in eThekwini, did not pay the municipality any of the agreed charges and routinely refuses to provide proof of payment.
"On Tuesday, the DA wrote to the city manager, Sipho Nzuza to demand answers on this matter. He has forwarded the query to CFO Krish Kumar, but the information required is not yet forthcoming," Graham said.
"Our own investigations have found that 49 buses were used; 10 from the Umlazi depot and 39 from the Ntuzuma depot. As usual, their ordinary routes and commuters were abandoned in favour of the ANC.
"Our well-placed sources also say that Transnat is simply refusing to provide eThekwini Transport Authority with the names of those who apparently hired the buses or provide any proof that payment was made."
Graham said the buses belong to the municipality and thus should be used to provide safe and effective public transport for the city's residents, not cart around ANC members.
Graham thus said it was "ridiculous for the ANC to try and now demand answers from the city", adding that Nzuza must demand answers from Transnat and there must be accountability for any wrongdoing.
African News Agency (ANA)