Cope: Ministerial hand book should be public

2015-11-28 18:06


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Johannesburg- Following the release of the Presidential handbook, the Congress of the People says the same should be done with the revised ministerial hand book.

“Now that the government has submitted to the relentless pressure of AfriForum to release the presidential handbook, it is time for us to step up the pressure for the release of ministerial handbook to curb excessive ministerial expenditure on cars, houses, travel and furnishing for themselves,” spokesperson Dennis Bloem said in a statement.

“Cope believes that the National Assembly has the primary and final responsibility for acceding to all expenditure, including that which is incurred through the Ministerial Handbook. Only the National Assembly has the power to approve budgets and grant allocations for expenditure. The Executive has hijacked that right and has been making merry at the expense of taxpayers.”

The Presidency announced on Friday that the hand book had been made public. Acting Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said in a statement: “The Presidential Handbook provides guidelines for the administrative, logistical, security and general support services to be rendered by the state to the President, his or her spouse and dependent children, and the Deputy President and his or her spouse.”

Williams said the objective of the handbook was to ensure the provision of reliable and consistent support required for the president and deputy president.

“To provide a concise operational guide to relevant government departmental staff with clearly indicated responsibilities and duties, and by implication, lines of accountability. And to provide the authority for the relevant civil servants to make decisions and to empower departmental staff with respect to what is approved, permissible and what may fall outside of the level of support required to be given to the president and deputy president.

“Whereas previously, the guide for support for the president and deputy president was a 2007 Cabinet Policy, the drafting and publication of the Presidential Handbook makes public the document which will... guide decision-making by public servants,” said Williams.

After a three year-battle the High Court in Pretoria ruled in favour of lobby group AfriForum to have the document made public before November 30.

Bloem said that AfriForum’s victory was just a small step towards having access to all the books.

“Now that everyone has sight of the presidential handbook, it is indeed time, to compel the executive to release the revised Ministerial Handbook to the public also. We need transparency. Indeed, we need to see what expenditure the cabinet team is permitting for its members,” he said. 

Read more on:    cope  |  afriforum  |  johannesburg  |  politics

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