LEGISLATORS have begun taking delivery of the all-terrain Ford Ranger vehicles bought through a $11 million vehicle purchase scheme financed by the government.
The legislators started receiving their new wheels worth about $35 000 each last week from Croco Motors. They are expected to pay for the vehicles over five years. Some parliamentarians from rural areas said they were happy that they test drove the vehicles to their constituencies at the weekend to see how they compared to old vehicles on rugged terrain.
“We needed the vehicles to travel across our rural constituencies. I went to my constituency over the weekend in new wheels,” Tsholotsho North MP Roslyn Nkomo said yesterday.
Nketa MP Phelela Masuku also confirmed getting a new vehicle through the same scheme, but said legislators were still not happy because their allowances were outstanding.
“We are happy that we have received the vehicles, but then we do not eat the vehicles,” he said.
“We are still owed allowances. We need the allowances for sustenance.”
Pumula legislator Albert Mhlanga said the vehicles were long overdue and were not enough compensation.
“We want our monies from Parliament. We are owed lots of money from the previous Parliament,” he said.
Legislators are owed about $4 million in sitting allowances from the last Parliament and about $1,4 million by the current Parliament.
Zanu PF legislator Temba Mliswa recently said the Ford Rangers were not good enough for the MPs. He said no one should be apologetic for getting the new vehicles and attacked them as sub-standard and of poor quality to what MPs deserved.
Mliswa attacked the government for buying vehicles from a private company Croco Motors instead of capacitating the struggling state-owned Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries.
The country’s largest car assembly plant is currently stuttering under the weight of crippling debt and declining sales volumes caused by a spectacular meltdown in its diversified motor industry putting 210 jobs at risk.