The Tshwane ANC Youth League on Tuesday accused Mayor Solly Msimanga of political grandstanding over his cancelling of the City’s partnership with BMW to ensure officials drove cheaper cars.
ANCYL regional chairperson Lesego Makhubela said the DA-led municipality was trying to reverse the gains the ANC had made in improving the lives of black children.
“We are further convinced that the cutting of the so-called ‘luxury cars’ is political grandstanding at its best and it is speedily ricocheting to expose how politically bankrupt the racist Democratic Alliance is,” he told reporters in Pretoria.
Makhubela said BMW’s Rosslyn plant, near the Soshanguve and Garankuwa townships, at one stage in 2011 had employed more than 3 700 people, and manufactured more than 53 000 BMW 3 Series cars.
Last Tuesday, Msimanga announced an immediate stop to all purchases or leases of luxury cars, a week after halting inaugural and celebratory dinners and lunches for politicians in the capital city.
No new luxury car would be bought or leased for councillors. When the luxury vehicles the City currently owned needed to be replaced, sensible, low cost-vehicles would be procured. The Hyundai i20 or Toyota Corolla could serve the same purpose, Msimanga said.
Makhubela said the partnership with BMW contributed to the city’s revenue and created jobs. BMW in Rosslyn had invested in an early childhood development institution for township residents, and a clinic.
He said Hyundai did not manufacture its cars in South Africa.
Msimanga’s spokesperson, Matthew Gerstner, said he was not surprised that the ANC was complaining about the decision.
“It is not unexpected that the ANC is uncomfortable about us exposing their lavish, luxury and totally wasteful spending on politicians’ cars.”
He said BMW’s history in Tshwane was a source of pride for the city, but did not entitle politicians to luxury cars, paid for with public money, that did not benefit the poor.
The money that would be saved on the cars would be spent on service delivery instead.