Emfuleni Local Municipality mayor Simon Mofokeng and Speaker Maipato Tsokolibane have been using rented vehicles for official functions – at a cost of R120 000 a month.
This was revealed by Gauteng Co-operative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements MEC Paul Mashatile in a written reply to questions by the DA Emfuleni constituency head Kingsol Chabalala in the provincial legislature on Wednesday.
The DA had written to Mashatile after obtaining information that Mofokeng, who replaced Greta Hlongwane as mayor last year, had been using rental Mercedes- Benz C-Class vehicles since January this year.
Mofokeng and Modisakeng retained their respective positions after the August 3 municipal elections. However, the focus turned on Mofokeng and the Speaker, after they were allegedly seen by DA councillors attending official council meetings in different vehicles every month.
It was also alleged that they both used the rental vehicles for their private use.
As a result, Chabalala wrote to Mashatile, questioning their use of hired vehicles.
In his reply, Mashatile confirmed that both of them were using Mercedes-Benz C-Class cars since January this year.
“The vehicles were hired for the use of the executive mayor and Speaker as courtesy vehicles while their vehicles were in for services,” Mashatile said.
He confirmed that the municipality had spent R120 050.55 on each rental.
“The official mayoral vehicles cannot possibly be in for a service every month. The service provider, Ultimate Exotic Travel and Events, has been raking up funds from the municipality. At more than R120 000 per month per rental, the municipality could have bought a brand-new small sedan or hatchback vehicle every month,” Chabalala said.
He said cost-cutting measures should have been implemented in all municipalities in the province. and that the hiring of luxury vehicles was a slap in the face of the many indigent residents. However, Mashatile said the vehicles were never used for “political purposes”.