State-funded luxury 'not morally justifiable'

2011-08-24 20:28
Cape Town - The ministerial handbook used at national level permits a level of state-funded luxury for ministers that is not morally justifiable, Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Athol Trollip said on Wednesday.

"Government spin doctor Jimmy Manyi's accusation that the DA's exposé of government's R183m spending spree on mansions for [Cabinet] ministers was a barefaced move to embarrass the executive, misses the point entirely," he said in a statement.

"It is not the DA's questions that are embarrassing, but the government's answers that embarrass the executive."

Manyi's attempts to justify "this splurge" on the grounds that it adhered to supply chain management processes and was permitted by the ministerial handbook rang hollow when so many South Africans continued to live in poverty.

Spending money that could have been used to build 2 000 RDP houses on 34 new ministerial mansions was "just plain wrong whatever the ministerial handbook says".

"The fact is that the ministerial handbook, used at national level, permits a level of state-funded luxury for ministers that is not morally justifiable.

"This is precisely why the DA government in the Western Cape produced its own handbook with stringent regulations to limit this kind of expenditure," Trollip said.

It was clear that the national ministerial handbook needed to change.

‘Spending spree continues unabated’

Otherwise, the excuse would always be "because the handbook says we can".

Faced with a public outcry over spending on luxury cars for ministers, the government made a big noise in 2009 about amending the handbook.

Public Service and Administration Minister Richard Baloyi promised it would be done, certainly before the World Cup. In April this year, he said it would be completed "soon, very soon".

"So where is it? No amendments have been made and the spending spree continues unabated," Trollip said.

Since Baloyi promised to change the handbook, the DA calculated that R693m had been spent on luxury cars, perks for the president's spouses, and buying and decorating ministerial houses.

"No wonder there is no rush to produce a new ministerial handbook," he said.

On Tuesday, Manyi said the latest attempt to focus attention on ministerial housing was a "barefaced move" to embarrass the executive.

The government had indicated in 2009 that it planned to buy and upgrade housing for ministers, members of Parliament, and top government officials, he said.

At the time, R150m had been earmarked as planned spending on ministerial housing in line with the government's budgetary and supply chain management process.

The increase in spending on ministerial housing was "dictated by the reconfiguration of the national executive".

Six new Cabinet positions were created in May 2009 and 17 new deputy ministers appointed in October 2010 to ensure "maximum performance" of the executive.

"There is nothing wrong in ministers and deputy ministers having two residences [one paid for by the state and another by themselves] as currently regulated by the existing ministerial handbook," Manyi said.
Read more on:    richard baloyi  |  jimmy manyi  |  athol trollip  |  da  |  government spending

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Millions of plastic particles in our food!

Scientists and researchers believe that almost five million tons of plastic is dumped in the oceans every year and it’s affecting our food.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Trying to keep time for your social commitments and friendships as well as taking care of work and health obligations can be more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.