Zandile Gumede in more hot water over 'irregular' car leases

Zandile Gumede in more hot water over 'irregular' car leases

- A week ago, eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede was arrested for her alleged role in fraud concerning a R208 million tender

- It has since come to light that the mayor allegedly approved the lease of 48 vehicles the city didn't need

- These vehicles were reportedly used only for running personal errands and for helping promote the ANC during the 2016 local elections

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As if being arrested for the role she played in a R208 million tender scam was not enough, eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede is now facing a new scandal.

Gumede is alleged to have approved the lease of 48 vehicles for personal use and ANC electioneering ahead of the 2016 local elections, reports News24.

This comes after a bombshell report put forward by the eThekwini Municipality Audit and Risk Assurance Services, which found that senior Durban Metro Police officials had forged signatures and falsified documents to hire R5 million worth of cars they didn't need.

Investigators have now called for the contract to be withdrawn and for all costs involved to be declared as irregular expenditure.

Officials had allegedly enjoyed the use of high-end BMWs, Golf GTIs and Audis, which they used for whatever pleased them and for promoting the ANC in the elections.

The report found that eight of the vehicles had been leased under the pretext that they were for the mayor's VIP protection, but this had not been the case.

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READ ALSO: Zandile Gumede ignores ANC call for resignation: Law unto herself

One official, who had a nearly R10 000 car allowance, had taken a BMW from the rented fleet for his own personal use.

In six months, the city had forked over R1 million for fuel, nearly R700 000 for insurance and R232 000 for repairs made to the brand-new vehicles.

The report explained that the hiring of said vehicles had been marked by multiple irregularities, ranging from 'dishonesty to deliberate misrepresentations, and blatant misuse and abuse of authority'.

With a large fleet in existence already, underutilised or not used at all, the move had truly been a wasteful exercise.

Senior officials claimed that the cars had been used by Gumede and fellow ANC Councillors to campaign for their party:

“It doesn’t come out quite clearly in the report, but many of the cars were used to campaign for the ANC during the local government election in 2016. Gumede was chair of the council’s safety and security cluster and the leasing of cars for our metro would have fallen squarely on her shoulders."

While officials had attempted to motivate the need for the vehicles, saying that they had been needed to provide public order policing ahead of the election, the report found that they had failed to explain why high-end vehicles had been acquired. reported earlier that Gumede had been asked by the provincial branch of the ANC to take a month-long leave of absence, pending the outcome of an investigation into her possible removal. However, the mayor had refused, leading supporters in protest of her resignation.

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