Cargate: The unanswered questions

DA MP Mike Ellis names and shames the ministers who are not answering

On 30 June the Democratic Alliance (DA) submitted a written question to every national minister asking whether or not their respective departments had purchased a new ministerial vehicle or vehicles. That question was submitted to a total of 35 departments. To date, some 60 days or two months later, only half (or 18) of the 35 departments have responded.

The 17 members of the executive who have failed to respond to date are:




Arts and Culture


Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs




Higher Education and Training


Human Settlements


International Relations and Cooperation


Justice and Constitutional Development






Public Enterprises


Science and Technology


Minister in the Presidency:  National Planning Commission


Minister in the Presidency:  Performance Monitoring Evaluation and Administration






Water and Environmental Affairs

There can be only one of two possible reasons for not responding, and both are equally problematic:

First, these departments are too disorganised to be able to properly determine whether or not they purchased a new vehicle. Certainly one would think a period of two months is time enough to establish such a simple fact. Indeed, quite how they are unable to do so boggles the mind.


Second, these Ministers have purchased a new ministerial vehicle at great expense to the taxpayer but, given the public climate at present - one created in large part by the exorbitant purchases made by some of their colleagues  - they are waiting for things to die down before responding. (No doubt, in the hope that their purchase will slip under the radar.)

If the former explanation holds true, it is an indictment of these department's internal systems, administration and management; if the latter holds true, it is an indictment of their attitude to the Constitutional principle that the legislature oversee the work of the executive in general, and the parliamentary mechanism of written questions, in particular.

Both constitute a certain level of disdain for the public.

The full list of ministers who have responded thus far and the date on which they responded - from the earliest response to the latest - follows below. It is difficult to understand how some departments were able to respond within ten days while others are still battling to compile the requisite information.

The DA will continue to monitor this issue and apply pressure to those ministers who are trying to avoid answering what might well prove to be a difficult question.


Date Answered


Trade and Industry

7 July

No vehicle bought.

State Security

8 July

No vehicle bought.


16 July

Cape Town: BMW 750i. 2009 model.

(R1 135 500.00) Plus extras (R12 100.00)

Total: R1 147 600.00
Pretoria: BMW 750i. 2009 model.

(R1 135 500.00) Plus extras

(R136 300.00)

Total: R1 271 800.00
Total: R2 419 400.00

Defence and Military Veterans

16 July

No vehicle bought.


17 July

No vehicle bought.

Public Works

17 July

No vehicle bought.

Economic Development

17 July

No vehicle bought.

Sports and Recreation

21 July

No vehicle bought.

Basic Education

21 July

Cape Town: BMW 730D. (R894 500.00)
Pretoria: Range Rover Sport.

(R807 000.00)
Extras: Pretoria: (Mudguards: R2592.18)
Total: R1 704 092.20

Public Service and Administration

21 July

No vehicle bought.


24 July

Cape Town: Audi A6 3.0T. (R590 500.00) Plus extras (R22 933.35)

Total: R613 433.35
Pretoria: Lexus GS 300 SE. (R557 673.73) Plus extras (R20 505.58)

Total: R578 179.31
Total: R1 191 612.66

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

28 July

2009 Mercedes Benz S350. 2009 model.

(R780 253) Plus extras (R15 750)

Total: R796 003

Rural Development

28 July

No vehicle bought yet.
In the process of purchasing a new vehicle/s

Home Affairs

30 July

No vehicle bought

Correctional Services

12 August

No vehicle bought.
Will be purchasing one in August 2009

Social Development

24 August

No vehicle bought yet.

In the process of procuring a new vehicle

Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities

24 August

Pretoria: Range Rover
Cape Town: Audi A6
Total: R1 263 113.00


26 August

No vehicle bought.

Statement issued by Mike Ellis, MP, Democratic Alliance deputy chief whip, August 31 2009

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