'Government equipment hired out, damaged'
A ROW is brewing in Cala's Sakhisizwe municipality after construction equipment belonging to the municipality was hired out to a private company and allegedly later returned with damage estimated at over R600,000
The equipment consisted of two tipper trucks, tractors and excavators and formed part of a R13-million purchase by the municipality in the 2010-2011 financial year.
The plant was hired by businessman Mountain Nyanga of Qhamani Plant Hire and was allegedly removed from a site in Lupapazi village in June.
It was being used to work on a damaged road at the time.
It was allegedly taken to a local coal mine where it was used for over a month at a hire cost of R76,000.
It is further alleged this took place without council knowledge.
When approached for comment, Nyanga said the municipality should not complain about the damage as no checks had been done on the plant before it was released.
“There is nothing much I can say here, but if the municipality is damaging my name, I will get more than what the damage to the plant will cost them,” said Nyanga, meaning he would take legal action for defamation if necessary.
He would also not reveal whether he had paid hires fees for the equipment.
Opposition parties raised the issue after it was discovered the equipment was badly damaged while at the mine.
The Democratic Alliance’s Murray Andrews said the DA had been looking for answers on what had happened. “We heard
that the plant was hired out, but how much money did the municipality receive and how was this approved?” he asked. “We are waiting for answers.”
Mayor Mlamli Jentile said the allegations were unfounded.
“These are all allegations to damage the municipality. This municipality can hire out the plant to anyone as long as the money will come back to the municipality to pay the instalments of the plant itself,” said Jentile.
However, the mayor was not able to confirm if the municipality had received hire fees.
Sources in the municipality said there was no resolution or clause that stopped municipal plant from being hired out.
Congress of the People (COPE) councillor, Sikela Bavuma, said they wanted answers from the municipality.
“There is damage to the plant and we are asking how the municipality in first place hired out the plant to people? According to government financial management laws, municipality equipment is for use for service delivery, nothing else,” said Bavuma.
Municipal manager, Samuel Thembeni said he had not received a report on the matter.
“Nothing has come to me about this,” he said. “There is no report of the damage or anything like that – I am waiting for that report.”