The Zambia United Local Authorities Workers’ Union president Kingsley Zulu says some councils are diverting about 20 per cent of the local government equalization fund to buy flamboyant vehicles at the expense of service delivery to local communities.

Addressing a media briefing in Ndola, Monday, Zulu asked the Ministry of Local Government to start strictly monitoring of how the local government equalization fund was been used.

“The union wishes to register its disappointment in the manner some principle officers in local authorities are administing the offices of both the membership and the council at large. It is quite disappointing that instead of concentrating on service provision to the residents in local communities, some managers are flamboyantly competing on buying the latest vehicles on the market at the expense of service provision,” Zulu said.

“The 20 percent component of the local government equalization fund meant for capital projects has been diverted in most cases to the procurement of these expensive vehicles for personal to holder vehicles for luxury purposes which is unfortunate. These vehicles are purchased at a huge cost which, funds if properly and prudently utilized would improve service provision as opposed to benefiting a few individuals.”

He said the guidelines given by the ministry to buy vehicles was been abused.

“While we appreciate and commend the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government for providing guidelines on the type of vehicles to buy for mayors and principle officers, some managers with impunity are deliberately overlooking these well intended guidelines. Disappointedly so, we have reports of council chairpersons and mayors driving themselves in official vehicles and we would like to appeal to our members to be on the look out for such so that we can deal and arrest this vice,” Zulu said.

“We wish to state that the lavish and flamboyant lifestyles of these managers in local authorities leaves much to be desired. The statutory contributions such as funeral, pension contributions, NAPSA and medical scheme have not been remitted to these respective institutions. This has resulted into our members failing to access funeral and medical schemes. Further we wish to state that the union will not condone abrogations of conditions of service,” he said.

Zulu warned that the union would expose some managers who were infringing on the rights of the workers.

“We are going to expose managers who are infringing the rights of our members. The union has made great strides in ensuring timely disbursement of the local government equalization fund and for that, we want to commend the Minister of Local Government Vincent Mwale and his PS. While the government is addressing this matter, we expect councils to do their part by mobilizing local resources to avoid late payments of salaries to the members,” he said.

“While government has put in austerity measures, some principle officers are galavanting all over the country. They have become local tourists and this tendency has resulted in councils being in huge expenses in these trips resulting in delay in provision of services. We demand that councils should set aside resources for salaries. That no mayor or council chairperson should drive official vehicles on personal errands, failure to which, our members will impound the vehicles. We want the minister to regulate and monitor the trips to save the little resources,” said Zulu.