The eThekwini Municipality has hit back at allegations of financial mismanagement levelled against it by the DA regarding the purchase of advanced street sweeper vehicles.
According to the DA, these vehicles, bought for millions of rands, were left unused and were deteriorating in condition.
However, the city called the allegations a lie and said that the Cleansing and Solid Waste Unit's operations were actually enhanced with the procurement of three Ride-On Vacuum Sweepers in 2016.
Mzamo Billy, a DA councillor in eThekwini alleged that since being procured for use along the Durban beachfront Promenade by the Cleansing and Solid Waste (CSW) unit, formerly Durban Solid Waste, the machines were “yet to hit the ground”.
In addition, Billy alleged that “intelligence received by a credible source within the unit” suggested that the vehicles were a wrong fit and not suitable for local use.
“It is also alleged that no training has been provided to help employees operate the street sweepers. It’s also become apparent that the fate of these costly machines has been to be simply dumped with CSW,” Billy said.
The purchase, made through an open tender, totalled R2.9 million for all three vehicles and was reportedly free from irregularities, the City said in a statement.
Contradicting the DA's claims, the City asserts that these vacuum sweepers have been operational and in use for several years, specifically in cleaning the Central Business District (CBD).
“There is no truth to these allegations because the three vacuum sweepers have been in use for many years,” eThekwini Municipality spokesperson, Gugu Sisalana said in a statement.
“Please note that these vacuums were bought seven years ago, and they have been used to clean the Central Business District on countless occasions. It must be noted that these are not high-speed machines, they can only travel at 20km per hour as they need to suction as much dirt as possible, this means that they can only be used at night-time when there is little to no foot or motor traffic. The vacuums have proven to be highly effective in the sweeping of the CBD and the City intends to use them in other areas such as the promenade,” she said.
The municipality asserted that the DA’s allegations were baseless and only served to tarnish the image of the City and the hard work of its employees.