Dear Municipal Manager,
I am shocked at the physical condition of the Waste Transfer Station with piles of domestic waste accumulating everywhere. I am told equipment availability is the problem and a shortage of funds has made the Waste Department unable to hire a front end loader and chipper to handle the green waste.
I find this hard to believe.
A brand new front end loader can be bought for between R600k and R900k. That is less than the mayor’s car cost. Council proposes to spend R1.5m on a non-essential Mayoral Golf Day which would be adequate funding to buy 2 front end loaders. Priorities? In the 2016/17 financial year hire costs were R5.7m and increased to R8.5m the following year.
The hire of such an essential piece of equipment should not pose a problem. It is reported that one of the compactor trucks was out of service for a month while waiting for a new battery. It takes half an hour to go to buy and replace a battery. There is no excuse for this! On the face of this alone, it raises concerns that waste management and/or fleet management has broken down completely and that overall, oversight and accountability is absent.
Even worse, it raises questions about ulterior motives. Is there perhaps a benefit to certain people to unnecessarily keep vehicles out of operation and hire instead? The situation clearly needs attention at the very highest level. While on the subject of escalating hire costs, could you please bring a report to council addressing at least the following issues:
- How much of the For Hire expenditure was for cars vs maintenance vehicles?
- How many vehicles in each category are we hiring per year? What is the average length of the hires?
- Who are the companies we are hiring from?
- Why are maintenance vehicles out of service for so long? (Is it SCM paperwork or the maintenance contractors?)
- Which maintenance contractors are we using?
- What is Bitou paying per week for rental of machinery?
It is not that the municipality does not have the necessary equipment, but that it is clearly unable to get its act together to maintain and run it efficiently.
I look forward to your response.
Plettenberg Bay Ratepayers Association