EFF wants Thuli Madonsela to probe premier’s ‘R5m car splurge’

2014-01-14 16:02

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The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Mpumalanga will ask Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to investigate Premier David Mabuza for allegedly splurging about R5 million on four luxury cars.

EFF provincial spokesperson Mpumelelo Masina said the party was “outraged by Mabuza’s disgraceful conduct ... while the people of the province continue to live in a sea of misery and abject poverty”.

Mabuza’s spokesperson, Zibonele Mncwango, has not denied that Mabuza bought the cars, but has insisted that all processes and procedures were followed. Mncwango said Mabuza used to borrow vehicles from mayors and MECs before making these purchases.

The Ministerial Handbook allows Mabuza and other premiers to buy vehicles that do not exceed 70% of their inclusive salary package. Premiers earn close to R1.9 million annually and they are allowed to purchase vehicles worth R1.3 million.

The premier bought a Lexus LS 460 after a similar model that was used by his predecessor, Thabang Makwetla, started giving problems, his spokesperson said. The exact cost of the vehicle is not known.

Mncwango said he discarded the sedan in 2013 after it “accumulated a huge mileage”.

Mabuza then bought a Range Rover SUV in 2013, which was traded in for a similar one during the same year because of mechanical problems.

He also bought an Audi A8 in the same year as a back-up car, Mncwango said.

In addition, Mabuza bought a BMW X5 for his bodyguards – also last year. The car was supposed to be provided by the police, but there was a delay. Mncwango could not say if the police eventually provided another vehicle for Mabuza’s bodyguards.

Masina said: “The EFF will lodge a formal complaint with the public protector this week. We call on Madonsela to launch an immediate investigation into Mabuza’s apparent disregard for the provisions of the Ministerial Handbook and supply chain management prescripts so that whoever is culpable of any wrongdoing should face the consequences.

“Mabuza’s latest scandal makes a mockery of claims by the provincial government that there’s no money to meet the basic needs of the people of Mpumalanga, in particular water and sanitation. Furthermore, it is a testament to the circus that is the anti-corruption task team set up by the premier himself,” he added.

Mncwango could not provide the total amount Mabuza had spent, but he did indicate that the second Range Rover had cost R1.3 million and the Audi A8 was R1 million – a combined cost of R2.3 million.

Including the R1 million BMW X5, Mabuza apparently exceeded the limit on his allocation in the Ministerial Handbook by R2 million. This excludes the cost of the Lexus.

Mncwango’s price on the Range Rover is, however, disputed by information on the Land Rover’s website, which indicates that prices range from R1.6 million for the Range Rover Vogue SE to R1.8 million for a Range Rover Autobiography.

The DA’s leader in Mpumalanga, Anthony Benadie, said: “It’s shocking and hypocritical of him as someone who prides himself for leading a caring organisation. There’s no reason for a premier to drive a R1.8 million car unless he wants to stroke his ego.”

Meanwhile, the North West legislature has established a sub-committee to probe the processes followed in purchasing Premier Thandi Modise’s R1.3 million BMW 750i in November.

The DA in the province claimed that Modise had in fact bought two cars since she became premier. Modise also used a R1.1 million car she had inherited from her predecessor, Maureen Modiselle.

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