News24

Minister abuses govt credit card

2009-11-23 10:02

Cape Town - The minister in the office of the president who is tasked with keeping an eye on the performance of his colleagues in Cabinet, has now joined the growing list of ministers who spend taxpayers' money frivolously.

Collins Chabane, minister in the presidency responsible for performance monitoring and evaluation, allegedly uses his official credit card for personal expenses.

This revelation came about after widespread criticism regarding ministers who spend millions of rands on new vehicles, stay in the most expensive hotels and make use of expensive state air travel, while cheaper alternatives are available.

Furthermore, Jeff Radebe, minister of justice and constitutional development, now refuses to say exactly how much has been spent on hotels, restaurant bills and travel expenses this year by himself, his deputy and senior officials in his department.

Expenses for "staff in the office of the minister" amounted to more than R1.65m for travel expenses and over R740 000 for accommodation between April and October this year.

Overdrawn

Chabane's unauthorised use of his official credit card has resulted in the card being overdrawn at least once over the past three months - and by Sunday, his spokesperson could not say whether the money had been repaid yet.

Furthermore, Chabane is the only political office bearer in the presidency who has an official credit card, it emerged after a question posed by the DA in Parliament.

Neither President Jacob Zuma, Kgalema Motlanthe, nor Trevor Manuel, minister in the presidency who is responsible for the planning commission, have one.

Mike Ellis, DA deputy whip in the National Assembly, said on Sunday that he finds it strange that Chabane decided to make use of an official credit card, while the other political heads in the presidency decided against doing so.

He has admitted to spending R5 361.40 on personal expenses in September alone.

Government spending

"That shows why it's so important to keep a keen eye on government spending, as the DA has decided to do, as a result of the widespread corruption and misuse," said Ellis.

The card has a monthly limit of R15 000 which, according to the ministerial manual, may be used by Chabane "for expenses relating to his official responsibilities".

According to the answer given to Ellis's question, he only spent R2 304.65 in October and R108 in August. Arrangements would also be made for the overspent money to be repaid.

The minister's spokesperson, Harald Maloka, said on Sunday that, as far as he knows, this would be a once-off repayment.

However, he could not confirm whether the payment had already been made.
 

Die Burger