Council cars not licensed
CONTROVERSY-RIDDEN Moqhaka local municipality in the Free State is in hot water - again.
This time the municipality is accused of allowing employees to drive municipal vehicles on public roads without licence discs.
Among the vehicles are traffic vehicles and a fire fighting vehicle. Some of the vehicles' licence discs expired in 2009.
The situation is affecting the delivery of services such as rubbish collection because workers do not want to drive the unlicensed vehicles.
Earlier this year the municipality came under fire when it was revealed that it had built scores of unenclosed toilets for poor residents. Last month the controversy-prone municipality was in the spotlight again for allegedly misusing more than R9million of taxpayers' money to benefit organisations including Premier Soccer League clubs.
The expense was incurred in 2007 in a bid to promote Moqhaka council's tourism extravaganza. The event was supposed to draw international personalities like Tiger Woods to play golf in Kroonstad, but it bombed out.
Last week a Sowetan team in Viljoenskroon - which is under Moqhaka municipality - saw a marked traffic vehicle without a licence disc parked outside a surgery.
Other vehicles without licence discs, including trucks, were parked at the municipal compound. Workers said they were no longer prepared to drive the vehicles because they were given traffic fines.
"It is sad that we are being fined for vehicles that we don't own. It is even worse that the same traffic officials who issue the fines are using unlicensed vehicles themselves," said a worker who did not want to be identified for fear of victimisation.
"We are scared we might lose our jobs because we do nothing the entire day. There are no services that we render to the community," another said.
Municipal spokesman Khojane Madiba said they were aware that some of their vehicles' license discs had expired "but we are doing something about it".
"Two weeks ago municipal manager Simon Mqhwathi appointed someone to deal with the matter," he said.
Madiba denied that service delivery had been affected.
Road Traffic Management Corporation spokesman Ashref Ismail said those workers driving unlicensed vehicles are breaking the law and should be charged in terms of the Road Traffic Management Act.