Ministers’ bling days in danger

2009-09-16 09:45

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma wants the newly formed team of cabinet

ministers tasked with looking into the issues surrounding ministers’ bling cars

to ­urgently review and possibly revamp the ministerial handbook.

This would result in cheaper but safer car options. The changes

would also include the creation of a pool of cars for ministers and see

government save when buying in bulk.

Once revised, the handbook would then be presented to Parliament to

be passed.

In the meantime, cabinet has ­ordered that all communication

­regarding ministers’ vehicles be ­handled mainly by Government Communications

and Information Systems (GCIS) to avoid further ­“inflammatory” comments by

spokespeople in the different ministries, a source close to Zuma told City Press

yesterday.

The source said the move followed Zuma’s anger at comments made by

Tiyani Rikhotso, spokesperson for Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda, when

he argued that it was “opportunistic” for trade union ­Cosatu to “embark on a

tirade in a bid to cast aspersions over the ­minister of communications’

conscience”.

Rikhotso added: “It is unfortunate that Cosatu finds itself joining

the bandwagon of those who are hellbent on distracting this new administration

from delivering on its commitments to the electorate.”

The source said people were not happy with Rikhotso’s comments

because they flew in the face of ­Zuma’s efforts to end the controversy over the

bling cars.

“Indeed, the ministers have done everything by the book, but in

these sensitive times you need not create more ­drama,” said the source.

He added that this was no longer just a Nyanda issue. It had been

elevated to cabinet; it was a cabinet matter now and “only Themba Maseko could

comment as government spokesperson”.

The negative publicity was “hurting” Zuma’s image as a man of the

people, said an aide.

While Zuma could not be seen to be breaking ranks with his

ministers, who had done things by the book, he was increasingly getting worried

that the scandal was stealing the thunder from his hands-on approach to service

delivery.

“The thorny issue, for now, is whose ethics or standards or morals

we must use, because the pressure groups, the opposition and other ­interested

parties have hijacked the issue, and yet the ministers have not broken any

laws,” another ­government source said yesterday.

“Zuma wants ­sensitivity in all this and any further focus on cars

is going to hurt him further.”

Meanwhile, Maseko has defended political office-bearers who have

splurged millions of rands of taxpayers’ money on expensive cars, saying the

spending was necessary to “enable them to do their duties without

hindrance’’.

He insisted that the ­decision to centralise communication over the

ministers’ cars was not taken by the presidency. “The reason is that when these

ministers bought the cars, they were complying with a national policy framework,

which is the ministerial handbook. If there is any explanation, it needs to come

from the centre. It was not necessarily a presidential decision,” Maseko said.

maintained.


Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.