Buffalo City Metro gives vehicles to broke neighbour

BCM municipal manager Andile Sihlahla
BCM municipal manager Andile Sihlahla
Image: File/ Sino Majangaza

The idiom “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” best describes Buffalo City Metro donating nine “obsolete and redundant” vehicles to the broke Great Kei municipality.

The local authority, which currently has a fleet of only three bakkies and two sedans, has welcomed the donation, saying it would go a long way towards delivering improved services.

The shortage of cars at Great Kei is so severe that officials sometimes use their own cars for official municipal business.

The BCM council approved the donation of its vehicles, including two light-duty vehicles, two sedans, two compactors, one grader, one front- end loader and one tractor-loader-backhoe (TLB).

“Even though fully depreciated, they can still be used because they have a combined residual value of R784,418 attached. However this may require huge amounts of maintenance costs,” BCM city manager Andile Sihlahla said in a report tabled in council.

Great Kei municipal manager Lawrence Mambila said they could not afford to buy their own vehicles and welcomed the donation. “Four or five of our vehicles were burnt out during violent strike action and we have not recovered from that.

“The three bakkies are used in the community service department to collect refuse and even transport workers. The two sedans are used in the traffic department and others by the law enforcement staff,” he said.

“It’s difficult because workers end up using their own vehicles – they can’t even claim back because the municipality does not have money to pay them.”

Mambila said to function effectively, the municipality needed at least 18 vehicles.

Although the vehicles to be donated still have a combined residual value of R784,418 attached to them, the assets were no longer needed by BCM to provide minimum service delivery or revenue production.

“They are not attached to any of the city’s liabilities or debt ... The vehicles will be transferred to Great Kei municipality in order for the adjacent municipality to meet its services delivery obligations.

“All the vehicles that have been identified for donation to Great Kei municipality have fully depreciated except for the Isuzu bin loader, which still has a value of R41,885,” Sihlahla wrote.

BCM spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya said the council resolution would be implemented once the two mayors signed a co-operation agreement between the two municipalities, and part of this agreement would include administrative processes on how the vehicles must be transferred.

“The said vehicles have reached their useful value and have been declared as obsolete or redundant.

“In terms of our accounting methods and financial statements, these are assets that would have been disposed of or written off the register due to these conditions but most importantly, they are at zero value on the system.”