It was reported that these cars were allegedly used for personal errands and for the ANC’s election campaign in 2016.
The mayor of eThekwini Zandile Gumede allegedly approved the irregular lease of 48 cars the metro did not need at a cost of R5 million, City Press reports.
These cars were reportedly then used for personal tasks and for the ANC’s election campaign in 2016.
Gumede faces fraud and racketeering charges. She handed herself over to the Hawks recently and was granted R50,000 bail.
Gumede is also the chairperson of the ANC eThekwini region, and is in the dock with her co-accused, ANC councillor Mondli Mthembu and businessman Craig Poonan.
They have been charged in connection with tender fraud for a 2016 Durban Solid Waste (DSW) contract for which the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) says no work was done. The tender was for R208 million.
It was reported that Gumede allegedly approved the irregular lease of 48 cars while she was still the metro’s emergency, safety and security portfolio chairperson shortly before she took up the mayoral position.
The alleged irregular lease saw city officials hire BMWs, Golf GTIs, and Audis which were reportedly used for joyrides and the ANC’s election campaign.
This was revealed in a report by the metro’s Audit and Risk Assurance Services following a 2017 investigation which found that senior officials from the Durban Metro Police fraudulently falsified signatures, dropped the mayor’s name and forged documents to hire the cars at a cost of R5 million.
A recommendation made by the investigators was that the contract should be rescinded and withdrawn and that its costs should be declared as irregular expenditure.
According to allegations contained in the report, three BMWs and an Audi A3 TSI were part of eight cars that were leased for the mayor’s VIP protection but officials allegedly used these for personal errands.
Furthermore, an official allegedly used a BMW for personal use despite having R9,200 car allowance.
The report alleges that officials used the cars for personal errands, with some travelling to as far as Johannesburg and Port Shepstone.
The metro spent R1 million for fuel, R680,000 for insurance and R232,000 for repairs for the cars all within six months.
The contract was found to be irregular because it was extended from one that had expired and that two signatures were not of the five officials who signed the contract, the report also found.
The report also found that the hiring of the cars was marked by a number of irregularities which include dishonesty, deliberate misrepresentation and blatant misuse and abuse of authority, management override of controls and collusive tendencies.
The payments made were unauthorised and irregular because the contract cited is invalid, the report states, with the investigators saying they are concerned that these payments were made with the knowledge of the head of the City Fleet and deputy head of the Durban Metropolitan Police Services and metro police acting senior superintendent.
It was also found that the cars did not need to be leased because the metro had a substantial fleet which was not used accordingly.
Three officials within the metro told the publication that the lease was signed in July 2016 for a period of six months and that the mayor and other ANC councillors allegedly used the cars for the ANC’s election campaign.
It was reported that the spokesperson of the Metro, Msawakhe Mayisela, denied that had been any wrongdoing with regards to the lease.
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