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MBABANE – Has E1.4 million belonging to taxpayers gone down the drain?

This question has been brought to the fore after it transpired that a top-of-the-range Mercedes Benz vehicle, worth over E1.4 million, which had been allocated to former Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini, is rotting in a garage in South Africa. The car is a Mercedes Benz V12 S600 registered as GSD 001 PC. During his time in office, the former premier was chauffeured in this car, which had been procured using public funds.

Information reaching the Times SUNDAY states that the Mercedes was sent to South Africa in 2017 after it developed mechanical faults in the engine. Concerned citizens have argued that even though it was sent for repairs, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, through the Central Transport Administration (CTA), has not made any follow-ups three years later, regarding its state. Again, the former PM’s family has still not received the vehicle as part of the benefit as stated in the Finance Circular No.2 of 2013. In fact, if it had not been for Auditor General Timothy Matsebula, the Mercedes would continue to be abandoned in the neighbouring country.

currently parked

Upon deeper investigations, it was uncovered that the car is currently parked in a scrapyard at Union Motors in Nelspruit. The entire engine was stripped. According to information sourced from CTA, the engine is currently in Johannesburg, where it was supposed to undergo reconditioning. General Transport Manager at CTA Washington Khumalo said the initial plan was that the engine be transported to Johannesburg for remanufacturing, as opposed to reconditioning. Mechanical experts have argued that engine reconditioning involves several services – from a major engine rebuild to a service involving rod resizing, line boring, repairs, crack repairs or even replacing engine parts like alternators, spark plugs, pumps and carburettors.

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