The 110 brand new BMWs that the Western Cape government bought last year have never been used and have been sitting for half a year gathering dust.
The provincial government confirmed 50 of the cars are currently parked at the Gene Louw Traffic College in Brackenfell to make room for government vehicles at the government’s facilities in Maitland. The remaining 60 vehicles are parked in a state motor port.
According to Ricardo Mackenzie, the Western Cape MEC for mobility, the provincial government is waiting for the completion of a tender process during which spare parts that BMW prescribes are obtained, before the cars are put into use.
“Certain components that were accepted for previous models no longer meet BMW’s requirements to maintain the warranty for the vehicles,” says Mackenzie.
The provincial government’s department responsible for state vehicles has consequently started a tender process to get the right parts, instead of forfeiting the warranty. This includes the latest emergency lights, sirens and license plate recognition technology.
“Although the delay in the use of the vehicles is unforeseen and regrettable, the decision to procure the right parts through a tender process is the right decision.
“The process of equipping the cars is already well advanced and the matter is being handled with all urgency.”
The vehicles were purchased towards the end of last year to replace the government’s existing aging fleet and to meet additional transport needs.
The vehicles were purchased before the end of the 2022 calendar year to avoid the annual price increase, says Mackenzie.
In a statement, Cosatu in the Western Cape demanded an immediate investigation into why these luxury vehicles are not being used. The trade union also demands that the responsible parties be held accountable.
“What is disturbing is the fact that no one wants to accept responsibility for this act,” the statement said. “These vehicles can be used on our roads for efficient traffic management and law enforcement.
“The shocking amount of money that has been revealed as wasteful expenditure is unacceptable. We were informed that one vehicle cost almost R850 000.”