FILES - Picture taken on October 12, 2008 shows a row of BMW cars at a parkin g of a BMW dealer in Erfurt, eastern Germany. The German luxury carmaker BMW said on December 5, 2008 that the global economic slowdown hit BMW hard in November with unit sales slumping by more than 25 percent compared to the same period last year. Sales of BMW-brand alone cars fell 26 percent to just under 81,500, the firm said, while Mini sales were down 21 percent at 15,100. AFP PHOTO DDP/ JENS-ULRICH KOCH GERMANY OUT

KwaZulu-Natal - Government departments have been accused of defying transport legislation by allocating official vehicles to senior managers and heads of departments despite an assurance from the premier that this is not happening.

Parliamentary replies to the DA confirmed that the permanent allocation of government-owned vehicles to department heads and senior managers was not permitted, but also revealed that the departments of health, transport and social development had such allocations.

DA KZN transport spokes-man Radley Keys said Premier Zweli Mkhize needed to “lead by example” and explain why such vehicle provisions were being made, despite his April assurance that they were not.

Keys said replies from departments revealed KZN acting transport head S’bu Gumbi had seven vehicles at his disposal – a 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 bought for almost R550 000; a VW Golf 6 GTI bought in 2010 for about R249 000; two 2008 3 Series BMWs bought for a combined price of R763 319.98; an Audi A4 3.2FSI Quattro bought for more than R430 000 in 2008; an Audi A3 2.0T FSI bought in 2006 for R116 813; and a 2004 Mercedes C270 CDI Elegance bought for almost R320 000.

Department of Health head Sibongile Zungu has two vehicles allocated to her, although one, a 2007 Yaris, has been condemned. The other is a 2007 Corolla bought for R118 484.79.

Keys said a parliamentary reply from the KZN Department of Social Development indicated that its head, Bheki Nkosi, had a 2008 Toyota Hilux, bought for R186 272.

Five vehicles were being used by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism. All were allocated to the operations manager who, according to the parliamentary reply, oversaw the department’s fleet management.

He said no state vehicles were allocated to department heads or senior managers in the human settlements and public work departments.

Other departments had not answered the questions, despite a parliamentary rule that written questions should be answered within 14 days.

In his reply, Mkhize said: “I can confirm that no vehicles have been personally allocated to any HODs and senior managers within any of the provi-ncial government departments… There is no legislative authority which specifically provides for vehicles to be permanently allocated to HODs and senior managers.”

His spokesman, Ndabezinhle Sibiya, said the director general of the province, Nhlanhla Ngidi was “fully aware of this issue” as it had been raised by the DA.

The DG had provided a comprehensive briefing to the premier after investigating the matter and this was shared with the DA.

Sibiya therefore stood by Mkhize’s reply that no vehicles were personally allocated to any HODs or senior managers. The Merury