Ministers have spent R58m on luxury vehicles since 2009 - Ian Ollis

DA MP says there is a clear lack of controls to curb unneccessary spending

Car-gate: More than R58 million spent since 2009 

President Jacob Zuma's cabinet has spent more than R58 million on car purchases and car rentals since 2009, according to an analysis of parliamentary questions compiled by the DA.

This excludes the additional R1.5 million for the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Jeff Radebe's new car approved in the 2013 Medium Term Budget Policy, the same day Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced the executive austerity measures.

The excessive spending on new and rental cars by the executive shows:

  • R32.56 million was spent on new cars in 2009;
  • R16.23 million was spent on new cars since 2012; and
  • R9.49 million was spent on rental cars since 2012.
  • The 65 cars on the DA's records include expensive high end models:
  • Mercedes Benz: 3x GL's, 3x ML's, 2x E500, 3x S350's, 3x S250's and 2x E500's;
  • BMW: 6x 750i, 2x 730D's, 4x 550i's, 3x X5's, 2x X6's and a 535GT;
  • Audi: 10x Q7's and 2x A6's;
  • Lexus: 2x LS450's and a LX570;
  • 3x Range Rovers; and
  • 1x Porsche Cayenne.
  • The most excessive spending by Ministries on new and rental cars since 2009 includes:
  • Communications, totalling R5.99 million;
  • Rural Development and Land Reform, totalling R5.34 million;
  • Women, Children & People with Disabilities, totalling R4.09 million;
  • Police, totalling R3.66 million; and
  • Basic Education, totalling R3.46 million.

There is a clear lack of controls to curb unnecessary spending with 9 Ministries buying cars in both 2009 and since 2012, while 6 of those also recorded excessive rental car bills. Questionable rentals, such a Minister Fikile Mbalula's R1 375 bill for 1 kilometre and Transport Ministers' average of R3 400 per day on rentals, is further evidence of the unabated wasteful expenditure in government.

This needs to stop. Minister Gordhan's belt-tightening measures should be implemented immediately, and he must explain to South Africa what punitive measures will be introduced to ensure that it is properly enforced. 

This must be supplemented with the introduction of a new Ministerial Handbook, which has now been ‘in the pipeline' for over 1500 days. In 2009, the DA-run Western Cape introduced a revised Ministerial Handbook for the province and reduced the maximum amount to be spent on official vehicles to 40% of Ministers' salaries compared to the national prescription of 70% of Ministers' salaries. The Western Cape also introduced restrictions on the type of vehicles that may be rented (only ‘Group D') where the national handbook still have no limitations on the use of rental vehicles.

Through these and other changes to the Western Cape Ministerial Handbook, the DA-run government in the Western Cape has already saved over R100 million.

The national government should emulate this success without any further delay. Indeed, wasteful and unnecessary expenditure diverts money away from projects that will boost service delivery, grow the economy and create jobs. In the end, it is the poor who are hit the hardest.

That is why the DA will continue to scrutinise every cent of government expenditure. South Africans deserve nothing less.

Statement issued by Ian Ollis MP, DA Shadow Minister of Transport, November 28 2013

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