The eMalahleni mayor, Lindiwe Ntshalintshali says the Democratic Alliance ignores the simple fact in front of them that the purchase of the R1.5m SUV will not take place, as it has been stopped.
Ntshalintshali on Tuesday slammed the lies peddled by what she describes as DA ‘noise-makers’.
The DA this week said they were going ahead to meet investigators after new evidence surfaced in last week’s council sitting that Ntshalintshali’s has “once again snuck into municipal budget the purchase of the R1.5m SUV”.
Last year October the opposition party laid charges of fraud and corruption against eMalahleni municipal manager Theo van Vuuren to stop Ntshalintshali from buying the million rand state-of-the-art vehicle.
The DA said the municipality was planning to use money that had been “saved” from the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) to buy Ntshalintshali the car.
But Ntshalintshali through her spokesman Kingdom Mabuza said the DA were noise-makers peddling lies against her.
“The municipal infrastructure grant (MIG) is a grant which is ring fenced for infrastructure development only and is reported to national and provincial treasury weekly, so there is no way that money could be used to buy the executive mayor a car,” Mabuza said.
He said the item of the executive mayor’s car was introduced in the budget during a council sitting in September last year and not “newly introduced last week”.
“It has been there since September,” Mabuza said.
He said the car was not the mayor’s personal asset – belonged to the municipality and was meant for her to execute municipal duties.
“However the municipality is not planning on buying a car until the new financial year, unless the old vehicle, which has travelled 160 000km totally breaks down.
“The reason the municipality is not buying a car is because the executive mayor instructed officials responsible to delay the purchase until we recover financially.
“But in terms of policy we should have replaced the vehicle when it reached the 120 000 km mark.
“The car as it was brought into the budget last September is still showing (as an item) and will by year end either be cancelled or taken into the new budget,” said the spokesman, adding that the budget of the financial year 2017/18 will be presented at the council in May 2017 “where that item and all other aspects of the budget can be discussed”.
“The noisemakers whose intention is to mobilise the communities against the municipality ignore the simple facts known to them, that the purchase of the vehicle has been stopped and that was also confirmed by the mayor during council meeting,” he said.
Following an outbreak of service delivery protests in September the municipality halted the planned purchase of the luxury vehicle said to be a Lexus RX450 model.
ANC provincial secretary Mandla Ndlovu also intervened in the furore at the time, saying that the “issue of the car was off the council agenda” and that service delivery would be prioritised instead.