DA: Handbook will benefit Zuma's 'cronies'

2015-11-29 07:26
President Jacob Zuma is pictured arriving in Algiers with his jet in the background. (Sidali Djarbhoub, AP)

President Jacob Zuma is pictured arriving in Algiers with his jet in the background. (Sidali Djarbhoub, AP)

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Durban –The Presidential Handbook does nothing more than hand President Jacob Zuma’s cronies a blank cheque, the Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister in the Presidency said on Saturday.

Sejamothopo Motau’s statements come a day after the Presidency announced that the handbook was officially a public document. 

- Read more: Presidential Handbook officially made public

The document 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.

Motau in a statement said the handbook maximised the potential for lavish and extravagant expenditure.

Criticising some of the guidelines, Motau said the 20 page document was “written with Zuma’s lifestyle in mind” and “explains why he has failed to denounce the purchase of a new VIP aircraft for his personal use, at a cost of up to R4 billion.”

Motau said: “The handbook limits the use of commercial flights to the deputy president and only in special circumstances, conveniently giving Zuma an excuse not to follow the example set by other heads of state.”

Holding the president accountable

Motau said in the case of the president, the handbook mandates that the South African National Defence Force [SANDF] provides a suitable aircraft or charter with in-flight catering for the presidency’s account.

“It further allows the president to invite passengers to accompany him or her, provided that there is space. Inkwazi, the current presidential jet, has luxury seating for 18 people and a range of 6200 nautical miles.

“This is clearly insufficient for the needs of Zuma as the tender document attained from Armscor specifies an extravagant jet with a range of 7200 miles and room for 30 passengers on-board.”

Motau said: “Read together, the tender document and the handbook made it clear that the motivation for the new jet is Zuma’s desire to travel further, in greater luxury, with more of his cronies on board, all at the taxpayers’ expense.”

- More: Ministerial handbook should be public - Cope

He said the handbook should serve to place firm limits on presidential expenditure to prevent the abuse of state funds.

“Instead it merely serves to provide guidance on who can be scapegoated by stating which departments foot the bill for various expenses, such as Department of Defence in the case of Nkandla Air.”

He said the release of the handbook would not prevent the DA from holding the president accountable.

“If Zuma really cared about South Africa, he would set an example of fiscal restraint and responsible spending instead of putting himself and the ANC first,” said Motau.

Read more on:    da  |  jacob zuma  |  government spending  |  politics

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