Cope national committee member Pakes Dikgetsi has criticised Northern Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul for purchasing himself and provincial cabinet members brand new vehicles ahead of next year’s local government elections.
COPE national committee member Pakes Dikgetsi has criticised Northern Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul for purchasing himself and provincial cabinet members brand new vehicles ahead of next year’s local government elections.
He indicated that Saul’s “out of the box” Audi Q8, which was delivered on July 17, was valued at around R2 million.
“He also bought all the MECs new Audi Q7s. Upon taking up office he preached that he would cut all the frills, do away with red carpets, sell the premier’s residence, fight corruption and ensure effective service delivery. He refused to ride in the vehicle used by his predecessor. But he is now on a spending spree,” said Dikgetsi.
“A leader’s actions must align with their words and promises to the people. They must have integrity and authenticity for the people to trust and be loyal to them. Trust and loyalty are earned. Conduct such as this undermines public confidence in the state and its institutions.”
He added that the auditor-general found that the Mercedes-Benz ML 320 that was purchased with party funds sourced from the Northern Cape provincial legislature in around 2014 by Saul when he was the ANC provincial secretary, was irregular.
“The car was registered as his personal asset. Only after the attempted fraudulent activity was exposed in the media was the ownership hurriedly corrected.”
Dikgetsi added that a case of fraud was consequently opened by a member of the public.
“The car is still parked at the premises of the Northern Cape legislature and not at the ANC’s premises. This underscores the lack of separation between state and party.”
ANC chief whip Xhanti Teki said that the Mercedes was bought by the legislature for the use of the office of the chief whip.
“It is an asset of the legislature and thus it is parked at the legislature premises,” said Teki.
“With the provincial and national government elections on the horizon, it is expected to have a festival of narratives, especially from political parties with ailing memberships to resort to resuscitation of clarified matters.”
Teki stated that the ANC-led government remained committed to consolidating upon the gains made and to improving the lives of its people.
Spokesperson for the Office of the Premier Bronwyn Thomas-Abrahams explained that all vehicles that were used by the Premier and MECs were above the allowed threshold of 120 000 kilometres (km) and needed to be replaced.
“Some of these vehicles have clocked in over 260 000 km on the odometer. The vehicles utilised by the Executive Council Members have travelled on average more than 200 000 km. There has been a high number of breakdowns, high cost of repairs, maintenance and safety considerations. Government has acted responsibly, in not changing vehicles frequently. We are confident that no money has been wasted by the entity in acquiring those vehicles.”
She added that the vehicles that were purchased were assets of the Northern Cape Fleet Management and Trading Entity.
“The entity has more than 1 000 vehicles and all vehicles that are utilised by the departments, are rented from the trading entity so there is no department that has purchased a car including the Office of the Premier.
“State vehicles that are used by all departments in the Northern Cape Provincial Government are rented from the entity itself, including vehicles utilised by Members of the Executive Council.”
She dismissed Dikgetsi’s statements as being ”completely nonsensical”.
“It reflects embarrassing levels of degeneration and desperation as COPE is busy dying in the province. We do not have much time to be entertaining such nonsense from a bored individual as there is much work that the Premier must focus on in improving the quality of lives of the people of the province.”
Thomas-Abrahams stated that the 6th administration remained committed to sound and prudent financial management.
“We have improved our audit outcomes which reflect better accountability for public resources; we have ensured that we cut unnecessary wastages, and avoided spending that is not at the core of service delivery.”