‘Mayor deserves a kick bike, not an expensive car’


The mayor of the struggling Govan Mbeki local municipality is at most entitled to a kick bike and not an expensive car, according to the civil rights organization AfriForum.

To signal the community’s dissatisfaction with the planned purchase of a luxury vehicle for Nhlakanipho Zuma, the organization personally handed over such a bicycle to this mayor on Friday.

A memorandum was also given to him on behalf of “full of residents” and members of AfriForum’s Bethal and Trichardt-Evander-Kinross-Secunda branches (aka Text).

Hennie Bekker, AfriForum district coordinator for the Mpumalanga Highveld, says the community’s rebelliousness stems from the dire financial position in which the municipality finds itself, while service delivery is hampered due to enormous debts – among others to Eskom and Rand Water.

The municipality’s debt to Eskom is said to already amount to more than R3 billion and that to Rand Water more than R700 million.

In the memorandum handed over on Friday, AfriForum demands more responsible and transparent decision-making and management by the municipality.

“The municipality’s high level of debt leads, among other things, to the introduction of load reduction by Eskom and a reduction in water pressure from Rand Water.

“Load reduction is meanwhile applied in addition to load shedding, while the lower water pressure deprives communities in this municipality of their access to water in some cases. AfriForum is meanwhile formulating a legal strategy to oppose the introduction of water pressure reductions,” says Bekker.

Jan du Plessis, chairman of AfriForum’s Teks branch, says the municipality prefers to leave behind basic service delivery and make residents pay for it, while officials are rewarded, as it were, with shiny, new cars.

“This is unacceptable.”

Bekker further says that the current order in the municipality reflects a dictatorship, “where the small group of elected elites live and ride in luxury, at the expense of the people they have to serve”.

“Residents are now fed up with this and refuse to accept this behavior in silence any longer,” concludes Bekker.

Bekker encourages members of the public to support AfriForum’s petition against the intended purchases of the new vehicle.