Uproar over council auction

City Councillors are set to clash with council officials again, after the latter informed them of an impending auction just a day before it was held. The councillors have accused officials of trying to direct the auction to their own advantage.

Thaba Moyo
Thaba Moyo

Councillors initially raised their displeasure during the full council meeting on Wednesday. The auction of 48 council vehicles including pick up trucks, kombis, and heavy trucks was held on Thursday.

“My question is why are we informed of this auction just a day before it is held? It is common knowledge that when auctioning council’s equipment we should be told well in advance so we can inform the residents. It is their property at the end of the day,” said Clr Siboniso Khumalo.

However, according to council sources this was not the first time this has happened.

The source said not even the Council Finance and Development committee,which deals with all financial issues, was aware of these auctions.

Contacted for comment, the Mayor, Thaba Moyo, confirmed that there was something amiss with regard to the auctions, saying that somebody could be unscrupulously trying to influence the whole process.

“We really have to get to the bottom of this issue because that very property and equipment being auctioned was bought by councillors through the procurement board. So we have to put it right because as council we are expected to get rid of such unscrupulous activities,” said Moyo.

He said council officials should realise that they were not operating in a vacuum but they were residents’ employees mandated with taking care of council property – not using it for their self-enrichment.

The acting town clerk, Sikhangele Zhou, said while they had admittedly delayed in informing councillors on the auction, they tried by all means to ensure that they were alerted before it was held.

“This is a public auction and I can tell you that everything is done above board with everyone given the chance to bid without any prejudice,” she said.

A number of councillors, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the issue was shrouded in controversy as; besides not being informed there was the question of who determined what deserved to be auctioned.

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