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Gumede in hot water for allegedly approving irregular lease of cars

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eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede allegedly approved the leasing of 48 cars for personal use during the ANC’s 2016 election campaign.

Zandile Gumede has found herself in murky waters again. It is alleged that the mayor signed off irregular car leases for 48 vehicles just before the 2016 local elections. The cars were allegedly not needed by the city and ended up being used for personal errands and to campaign for the African National Congress (ANC). Gumede allegedly signed off the irregular lease while she was still the Metro’s Emergency, Safety and Security portfolio chairperson, shortly before she assumed the mayoral office.

After a 2017 investigation, a report by eThekwini Municipality Audit and Risk Assurance Services alleges that out of the 48 cars hired out, eight of the cars – including three high performance BMWs and an Audi A3 TSI – were leased under the pretext that they were for Gumede’s VIP protection. the report continues to allege that officials used the cars for personal business and travelled as far as Johannesburg and Port Shepstone. Those trips cost the city R1 million in fuel, R680 000 in insurance and R232 000 in repairs for the fleet of 48 cars. The report found that the lease contract was irregular because it was an extension of another contract which had expired.

“In view of findings uncovered during the forensic audit, it appears that the hiring of the vehicles by City Fleet was marked by multiple irregularities ranging from dishonesty to deliberate misrepresentation, and blatant misuse and abuse of authority, management override of controls, and collusive tendencies.

“All payments made are unauthorised and irregular since the contract cited is invalid, and we are concerned that such payments were made with the knowledge of the head: City Fleet and deputy head: Durban Metropolitan Police Services and metro police acting senior superintendent,” the report found.

Abenathi Gqomo

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