Car hire costs unavoidable - minister
Johannesburg - Public Service and Administration Minister Richard Baloyi has spent R360 000 on car rentals since March last year for "unavoidable" reasons, he said on Monday.
In a parliamentary reply, Baloyi said he used rentals on 21 occasions to carry out official duties in other provinces, where he could not use his official vehicles in Pretoria and Cape Town.
Baloyi said the department had taken all measures necessary to avoid fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
He said his Deputy Minister Ayanda Dlodlo had rented cars on 18 occasions from November at a cost of R205 000.
"Dlodlo was without an official permanent vehicle and thus had to rely on hired vehicles, with her official vehicle procured in March 2011," he said.
Former deputy minister Roy Padayachie had used 48 hired cars from March to October last year at a cost of R1 204 000.
He had had to leave his official vehicle at the department of communications and could not immediately purchase another.
Baloyi was replying to questions about car rentals submitted by Democratic Alliance MP Ian Ollis to each member of the executive.
So far, five ministries have replied. They are: public works, arts and culture, mineral resources, tourism, and trade and industry.
"Although a certain level of expenditure on car hire is quite acceptable, the DA regards the trend that has emerged from the information contained in these replies to be of deep concern," he said after his initial findings at the start of June.
"For a member of the executive to spend hundreds of thousands of rands worth of state funds on car hire raises serious questions about the degree of financial prudence being exercised by the [President Jacob] Zuma Cabinet."
Baloyi said car rentals were budgeted for under the travel and subsistence policy. The purchasing of cars was capital expenditure which could only be done through the medium term budget review.