“This is how seriously I take my role as executive mayor to ensure all resources are diverted to the benefit of residents,”
SOL PLAATJE Municipality executive mayor Patrick Mabilo has announced that the official mayoral vehicle, Model Audi Q7, “Sol 1 NC” will be sold.
In a statement, issued by his office, it was pointed out that the decision to sell the vehicle was made “in response to the current challenges faced by the municipality as part of its cost-containment measures”.
“The current mood is to forego some of the material benefits and cut out the frills. We are selling the vehicle to dispose of a liability. We are serious about service delivery and the executive mayor is leading by example to forego some of the benefits that come with serving in the office.”
The statement went on to say that since assuming his office, “the executive mayor has not used the official mayoral car to perform his duties, instead he has utilised his personal vehicle to perform his duties at his own expense”.
“This is how seriously I take my role as executive mayor to ensure all resources are diverted to the benefit of residents,” Mabilo stated.
“The reason for selling the car was simple but a conscious decision not to utilise a vehicle of R1 million while the financial situation at the municipality is untenable and finds itself in a precarious financial position.”
The statement pointed out further that Mabilo had also done away with benefits such as security upgrades to his home, namely camera surveillance, electric fencing and an alarm system and has taken a conscious decision not to use municipal funds for mayoral privileges in this regard.
“The executive mayor has instructed the municipal manager to auction the vehicle with immediate effect and all the money from auctioning the mayoral vehicle will be ploughed back into service delivery.”
The Audi Q7 was purchased by the municipality for R1.1 million for use by the former mayor, Mangaliso Matika, to replace his former vehicle, a 2009 champagne-coloured Mercedes-Benz E500 that had 211 308 kilometres on the clock.
A council decision was taken in 2017 to sell the old Mercedes after Matika was stuck for almost two hours in the parking lot at a grocery store in Long Street in December 2017.
At the time it was indicated that the engine did not ignite, although a new battery had been fitted on to the car, and that it had suffered extensive “wear and tear”.
It was reported that the vehicle was at Gariep Motors 60 percent of the time, undergoing repairs or being towed.
The purchase request for the Audi Q7 came shortly after items were 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.
The new Audi Q7 that was purchased for Matika resulted in protest action from the community who lambasted the municipality for extravagant spending.
The vehicle was also mentioned in the Section 106 investigation into irregularities at the Sol Plaatje Municipality. It was found that the vehicle was purchased through a third party, without any written instruction.
The report indicated that fruitless and/or wasteful expenditure could have been avoided if the former mayoral vehicle – the Mercedes-Benz E500 – was properly maintained and repaired.
“The Mercedes-Benz was allowed to accumulate more than 150 000 kilometres, which ultimately led to constant breakdowns and unnecessary cost to the municipality.
“The unnecessary, unexplainable delay in replacing the Mercedes-Benz resulted in fruitless and wasteful expenditure as no reasonable care was taken to adhere to the South African Local Government Association (Salga) mayoral handbook.”