Pule’s car-hire bonanza

2011-12-06 14:35

Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Collins Chabane and his former deputy, Dinah Pule, have spent almost R550 000 on rental cars between March last year and July this year.

The total for car hire is R2.65 million for the eight departments that have so far replied to the DA’s written parliamentary questions on the matter.

Figures out today show Pule, who is now communications minister, sometimes rented a second car before the rental contract for the first one was out.

Chabane in his reply to the DA’s Sej Motau said Pule travelled 15 931km over a total of 156 days, costing the Presidency R387 607. The Presidency recently said that it needed to cut costs to stay within its budget.

On June 4 Pule rented an I-group car (which, according to a car rental website, would have been a Toyota Avanza, or similar) for 30 days at a cost of R74 405, and travelled 4 395km.

But before the rental for this car expired, she rented a J-group car (Mercedes Benz E class or similar) in East London for two days from June 7, travelled 331 km and paid R7 059.

Two days later she rented an I-group car in Western Cape, travelled 221 km with it and paid R5 220. Six days later she was back in the Western Cape, rented a G-group (Mercedes C class) for three days, travelled 472 km and paid R10 210.

On June 20, while she still had the car from 16 days back on her name, she rented another I-group car in Gauteng for 21 days, travelled 2 334km with it and paid R69 427.

On July 5, she rented a G-group car in KwaZulu-Natal for two days, travelled 284km and paid R2 329 for it. When she returned to Gauteng the next day, she rented a J-group car for six days, while the June 20 car was still rented in her name. She travelled 680km with this car and paid R9 753 for it.

Finally, on July 31, she rented an I-group car in Gauteng, travelled 666km and paid R53 188 for it, more than R10 000 per day.

On March 9 she rented a car in the Western Cape for 30 days, travelled 1800 km with it, and paid R36 000, but during that time she also rented cars for short stays in KwaZulu-Natal and Port Elizabeth.

Then, on March 31, before her 30-day car rental contract was out, she rented a car for 21 days, travelled 544km with it, and paid R32 291.

Chabane himself had to pay R68 037 in repair costs for a rental car in Joburg for two days, after it was in an accident.

In June he forked out R2 238 for a car in Bloemfontein and apparently only travelled 3km.

Chabane had a busy two days in East London in that same month, when he travelled 1 112km with a rental car, costing government R13 423.

Chabane’s spokesperson, Harold Maloka, said Pule’s portfolio was only created last year November, when she was appointed deputy minister, and she had no official car allocated to her.

She had to rely on rental cars, which remained in her place of residence as a “base car” when she travelled to the provinces.

Maloka said he suspected the rental of two cars at the same time were for her officials, but he promised to verify that.

On Chabane’s 3km trip in Bloemfontein, Maloka said ministers sometimes attended meetings close to the airport.

Security protocol dictated that ministers were not allowed to walk to such meetings, or take taxis.

DA MP Geordin Hill-Lewis said in a statement today that “reckless spending” by ministers continued to be condoned by government on the grounds that it complies with the ministerial handbook.

He blamed the Ministry of Public Service and Administration for the delay in updating the handbook.

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