Politics / 7 September 2016, 07:12am / KENNEDY MUDZULI
Pretoria - Mayor of Tshwane Solly Msimanga will continue using the BMW 5 Series he inherited from his predecessor, Kgosientso Ramokgopa, but will replace it with a cheaper car when it “retires”.
Upon reaching its prescribed lifespan of 100 000km in accordance with the regulations, the vehicle will retire to the government garage. “Most of the cars have passed the cap or are very close,” Msimanga said on Tuesday. In its place will be a low cost model to ferry the city’s first citizen around.
The BMW would not be changed now as procurement of a new cheaper one would constitute wasteful expenditure.
“I will not allow public money to be spent on luxury cars, while our people struggle for services, houses and jobs.
“No more luxury cars will be bought or leased under my government. A Hyundai i20 or Toyota Corolla can do the same job for a politician as an expensive sedan.”
Msimanga first banned blue lights for politicians and officials in the city in his first days on the job, including on his own vehicle.
Municipal leaders, including himself, he said, would from now on travel alongside ordinary citizens and wait in heavy traffic, as well as stop at red lights.
Next up was the discontinuation of all inaugural parties and catered inaugural events for the city’s new executive, including celebratory dinners and lunches which he said only benefited politicians and not the public.
Msimanga also put a temporary stop to all international travel for politicians and officials of the metro, saying those looking to go on trips should submit applications to the mayoral committee for cost-benefit analysis, with each request treated on its merits.
And on Tuesday, the mayor said he was putting an immediate stop to all purchases or leasing of luxury cars for politicians and senior officials.
Msimanga was announcing further cost-cutting measures to spare the city expenses that only benefit politicians, generally known to prefer new and fancy wheels whenever they served in public office.
“No new luxury cars will be bought or leased for politicians, and if vehicles currently owned by the metro require replacement, sensible and low-cost vehicles will be procured,” he said.
The mayor, meanwhile, said he had uncovered the procurement of new luxury BMW vehicles for politicians - deals concluded and paid out of public money by the Ramokgopa administration.
Msimanga has therefore decided to redirect the 10 new vehicles with high-capacity engine power to the Tshwane Metro Police Department. They will serve in a newly-formed anti-hijack unit.
“Rather than using luxury vehicles for politicians, we will use them for a new unit in the metro police to prevent and respond to hijackings and high-speed chases because they have powerful engines and can be used for fast response. This puts the needs of people first, and not the needs of politicians first.”
Msimanga has in the past week conducted an oversight visit at the Pretoria City Hall, which has been under reconstruction for a while at a cost of R90 million. He, however, said there was very little to show for that expenditure and described the project as a shame.
He also disclosed he had forensic reports that had been suppressed for the longest of time by the previous city government.
Msimanga said when relevant authorities had been informed and due processes taken place, the reports would see “some changing their suits into the orange uniform very soon”.
The cancelled smart meters contract with Peu Capital Partners is expected to feature among the forensic reports.