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Mayor needs a new set of wheels

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Within limitations, the mayor is at liberty to choose the make and specifications to suit his needs

Picture: Danie van der Lith

SOL PLAATJE Executive Mayor, Mangaliso Matika, needs a spanking new set of wheels after his Mercedes Benz E500 was stuck for almost two hours at the parking lot at the OK grocery store in Long Street yesterday morning.

While the current model of the car has been discontinued, the top of the range Mercedes Benz E400 currently retails for R999 400, although the price is expected to increase by between three and seven percent next year.

This purchase request comes hot on the heels of items bought by the Sol Plaatje Municipality to kit out Matika’s private residence, including a R26 000 Samsung television, curtains to the value of R52 000, a R15 000 hi-fi sound system, R44 000 worth of kitchenware and crystal ware with a price tag of R26 000.

Matika’s drivers, who were left sweltering in the heat until the truck arrived to tow away the ailing SOL 1 NC mayoral vehicle, also highlighted the urgency to replace the car.

They indicated that the 2008 model, that has clocked in around 190 000 kilometres, refused to start, despite a new battery.

Manager in the Office of the Executive Mayor, George Mosimane, stated that Matika’s drivers were sent out to buy some water and returned to a non-responsive vehicle.

“We had to bring in a tow truck to take it in for repairs . . . again. The car is 60 percent of the time at Gariep Motors undergoing repairs and is hardly ever on the road.”

He stated that the garage had advised them that the car needed to be replaced due to extensive “wear and tear”.

“It is almost ten years old and we will have to book it in yet again for an assessment. It usually takes up to five weeks for them to send us an invoice and at least between two to three weeks for repairs.

“During this time we have to hire a vehicle. The bill for repairs and car rentals exceeds the cost of buying a new car.”

Mosimane added that Matika was unable to undertake any official trips with his official vehicle, due to the poor condition of the car.

He indicated that council had taken a resolution in 2014 to replace the mayoral vehicle.

“The tender was advertised and sent to the evaluation committee for adjudication.”

Mosiname pointed out that Matika did not wish to “rush things” by insisting on being given a new vehicle when he was inaugurated in 2016.

Spokesperson for Sol Plaatje Municipality, Sello Matsie, stated that while the procurement of a new vehicle did not have to go back to council, it would have to go out on tender again.

“The council resolution is still valid although prices of cars would have fluctuated in the past few few years.”

He said that it was not obligatory for the mayor to drive the same model or make of car as his predecessors

“Within limitations, the mayor is at liberty to choose the make and specifications to suit his needs.”