Storm over police car allowances
Lizel Steenkamp, Beeld
Cape Town - The police's senior officers - from the rank of colonel up to General Bheki Cele - all receive car allowances.
Not only can these officers claim money from the police if they travel in their private vehicles for work purposes, they are also entitled to use police vehicles.
Members of the parliamentary portfolio committee for police were outraged on Wednesday when this fact accidentally surfaced during a meeting with the top management.
However, none of the lieutenant generals were able to give a straight answer about the issue, and Cele, the national chief of police, was absent.
Sindi Chikunga, ANC MP and committee chairperson, immediately ordered a comprehensive report to be presented to Parliament within three weeks.
This report must contain a list of names, the type of vehicles, the maintenance costs and the money claimed by officers for travel in private vehicles.
"We are paid to ask these questions, but I'm actually too scared, because sometimes it's better not to know," Chikunga said despondently.
While senior officers are supposed to acquire their own vehicles, since they receive a vehicle allowance, they may use police vehicles under certain circumstances - "like when the roads are impassable or for official visits, such as a trip from the airport to Parliament", said financial chief Lieutenant General SJP Schutte.
Entry-level luxury cars
According to him, the official vehicles used by the officers are "mostly entry-level luxury cars, but there are also other cars for other people".
A shocked Annelizé van Wyk (ANC) said "something suspicious" was going on.
"Of everyone in the police, they need cars the least. They sit behind desks all day!"
According to her, it doesn't help much if the police budget is increased to pay officials better "and then it becomes apparent that the money is spent on these things".
Schutte said the police are in the process of revising the vehicle policy, and this concept document will also be presented to the committee.