Western Cape MEC Mobility Ricardo Mackenzie has faced criticism over the failure of the provincial government to use 50 vehicles bought last year to replace an aging fleet but not used for months.
- Western Cape MEC for Mobility Riccardo Mackenzie has confirmed that 50 BMWs purchased last year will be put into urgent use.
- The cars are parked at Gene Louw Traffic College for preservation while space is being freed up at the State Motor Vehicle Transportation Facility in Maitland.
- He said the provincial government had to initiate a bidding process so it could fit the vehicles with the technology needed to enforce the traffic law.
The bid to fit technology, including emergency lights, number plate recognition devices and in-vehicle cameras for traffic law enforcement, is the main reason why the Western Cape government has yet to use the 50 brand-new BMWs it bought in 2022 for traffic police.
Responding to criticism of the provincial government’s failure to use 50 German-branded luxury cars, which cost millions, Riccardo Mackenzie, Western Cape Mobility, assured that the cars would be used “urgently”.
He said the vehicles were purchased to replace an aging fleet and to meet additional transportation requirements and were parked at Jin Wu Traffic College for safekeeping while space is being made at the Government Motor Transport (GMT) facility in Maitland.
The State Motor Transport (GMT) business entity under its management, which is responsible for procurement, chose to purchase the vehicles before the end of last year to avoid paying the increased price this year.
“Once the vehicles were delivered, the process of preparing them for use in traffic law enforcement began.”
50 new BMWs purchased by the Western Cape government are gathering dust at Jane Law Traffic College.
The process entails the installation of reflective signs and branding, the installation of the latest emergency lights and sirens as well as in-vehicle technology, such as Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera solutions.
According to McKinsey, manufacturing approval is necessary when any technology that integrates electronics is installed in new cars. BMW has advised management that some components approved for previous models will not meet its standards for warranty retention on new models.
“This requires GMT to initiate a tender process to procure the new fixture rather than risk losing the warranty. While this delay was unexpected and unfortunate, the decision to fit the correct equipment, after following the specified tender process, cannot be wrong.”
“I want to assure the citizens that the processes are really well developed to get all the vehicles ready, and this matter is being dealt with with the urgency it deserves,” he added.
A tender for the installation of emergency lights, number plate recognition devices and in-vehicle cameras for traffic law enforcement has been cited as the reason behind the delay in the use of 50 BMWs purchased to replace an aging fleet.
ANC MPL Lulama Mvimbi expressed concern over the fact that the cars had been parked for over a year.
“Cars are costing taxpayers millions for them to sit idle and not serve the people of the Western Cape.”
Mvembi added that they were told there were 110 cars, each priced at more than 850,000 rand, gathering dust.
“It is clear that traffic in the province is in crisis,” he said, accusing the Department of Home Affairs of mismanaging public funds.
“These cars could be used to provide basic traffic services, but instead they just sit there, costing taxpayers more money.”
“This is wasteful and unproductive spending by the DA. It is also interesting that these cars were purchased at the end of the fiscal year, which reeks of and results in financial dumping,” he added.
The Cosatu Trade Union Confederation also expressed its outrage.
“We condemn this wasteful spending and demand an investigation immediately,” said Cusatu County Secretary Malvern de Bruin.
De Bruyne added that the vehicles should have been used for effective traffic law enforcement.