R1m Benz for mayor of poor municipality

The mayor of a struggling Mpumalanga municipality is shopping for a new Mercedes-Benz SUV which will cost ratepayers over R1-million.

Chief Albert Luthuli local municipality wants the latest Mercedes-Benz GLE 250d 4MATIC complete with front and rear warning blue lights on the windscreen and the front grille for its mayor Dan Nkosi.

According to a recent Mercedes-Benz price list, the 2017 model of the car the municipality desires retails at the recommended price of R969600.

The council wants the mayor's new wheels to have extras such as a sunroof, reverse camera, blind spot assist, heated seats and bi-xenon lights which will cost an additional R60000. The blue lights are part of policing specifications that also include a public address and siren set. The council prefers the car to be white in colour with a black one as their second option, according to documents Sowetan saw.

Defaulting ratepayers leaving local municipalities in dire straitsRatepayers fuming about incorrect billing are defaulting on their municipal bills‚ leaving local administrations in major debt. South Africa’s metros are the worst affected‚ with unaffordability cited as another factor for increasing non-payment. 

The new car will replace the current mayoral vehicle, a white 2011 Mercedes-Benz ML350. The car has clocked over 400000km which is "too much", according to municipal spokesman David Nhlabathi.

"He [mayor] has a right to buy a new car," Nhlabathi added.

"All previous [Chief Albert Luthuli municipality] mayors had blue lights in their cars."

Economically depressed Carolina is the seat of the municipality which is among several across the country owing Eskom millions of rands.

In January, the municipality paid about R17-million to settle part of its multi-million rand debt with the power utility.

The following month, the municipality asked for a R5-million overdraft facility which it undertook to settle with its equitable share from the Treasury in March.

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