SUSPICIOUS: A CHDM branded vehicle spotted filling containers with fuel at a local petrol station raised questions among community members Picture: SOURCED
A photo of a Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) vehicle with 25-litre containers being filled with fuel at a petrol station trended on social media at the weekend, with people indicating it raised suspicion.
This is not the first time fuel theft suspicions have been the talk of the town at the institution, an act which has also cascaded to local municipalities and had been discussed in council meetings of the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality, to name one.
Social media user Xola Siko said government used fuel cards to fill its vehicles and it was suspicious to see a photo depicting huge containers being filled, while the municipality had a history of fuel theft.
“However, we do not know what we do not know. This could be a legitimate exercise meant for service delivery but we cannot keep quiet as residents when there are suspicious activities because we know what our government and its public servants are like.”
CHDM senior communication manager Bulelwa Ganyaza indicated the municipality was looking into the matter as rumours of fuel theft also came to light earlier last week.
“The municipality has noted pictures circulating on social media showing a petrol attendant filling diesel into 25-litre plastic containers loaded in our branded vehicle. We have looked into the matter as rumours of fuel theft were also made earlier in the week to ensure that any transgression is unearthed and those responsible dealt with as per municipal laid-down procedures.”
She said the district municipality had systems and control measures in place meant to combat municipal fuel theft.
“This includes paperwork that entails control sheets being signed by operators on site when the driver arrives at the water scheme to ensure that the delivery tallies with the order. All our vehicles are fitted with a tracking device to monitor their movements. The pump stations, which are known for their consumption and capacity are provided with adequate fuel to run fortnightly.
“For the record, the municipality has rural water schemes, backup generators at its treatment works and pump stations that are fuel-driven to supply water to areas across the district. There are dedicated vehicles with bowsers that are used to transport diesel to various water schemes in the whole district.”
Ganyaza said these vehicles were allocated to all their satellite areas; however, the one that trended on social media was not listed for the exercise.
“It was used as part of our contingency plan as records extracted from our fleet management system indicated the vehicle allocated for the Komani and Whittlesea areas were recently taken for repairs. An alternative arrangement was made as an interim measure to supply diesel in those areas during this period to ensure that water service provision was not compromised.”
Ganyaza said it must be noted that the CHDM identified all fuel-driven pump stations that required conversion, and that an application had already been made to Eskom with the available budget to convert them to electricity.
“We applaud members of the public for their vigilance in ensuring that this incident did not go unnoticed. We urge the community at large to continue taking a keen interest on how the district municipality discharges its constitutional mandate and delivers quality services.”