Edna Molewa’s stockings never used to fix ministerial car

2013-11-29 08:10

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The claim that Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa had to sacrifice her stockings to fix the fan belt of a troublesome official vehicle doesn’t hold water.

In a recent parliamentary reply, in response to questions about her ministerial vehicle, Molewa shared information to illustrate “the difficult times we undergo as ministers at times”.

“I had several breakdowns to an extent that I had to give up my garment (stockings) to fix the car fan belt,” the response continues.

But when City Press asked questions about the validity of the claim, the minister changed her tune.

The stockings were never used to fix the fan belt, her spokesperson said – a pair was only “offered” to fix the car.

It also turns out the car she was referring to was in fact not the car that had to be replaced, resulting in the acquisition of a BMW 750i 2013 model.

In the parliamentary reply, the anecdote of the broken-down car seems to support the acquisition of the new BMW.

But, it turns out, the car that had broken down in Cape Town, resulting in the “offering” of the stockings, was in fact a car the minister had used from her time at social development – and was not the car referred to elsewhere in the reply.

Molewa’s spokesperson, Mandla Mathebula, said the minister did not mean her stockings were used to literally keep the car running at the time.

He also explained the stockings the minister had “offered” were not the pair she was wearing, but a spare pair.

But Mathebula could not explain the discrepancy between the response to the media inquiry and the parliamentary reply, which clearly states the minister had to give up her stockings to fix the car fan belt.

Of the incident, Mathebula says: “It was during this period of use that the vehicle experienced several breakdowns, including the one that happened when she was being driven from the Cape Town Airport to Parliament, where she offered one of her several pairs of stockings which she had in her possession, to fix a damaged fan belt.

“However, the stockings were not used. The protector/driver managed to acquire assistance from one of his colleagues who rescued her with another minister’s vehicle also heading to the same meeting.”

While Molewa only ordered one new car herself, she also enjoys the use of a new car ordered by her predecessor, Buyelwa Sonjica – a Mercedes Benz E350.

The car Molewa ordered was a new BMW 750i 2013 model, worth R1 043 481.

She uses one car in Pretoria and the other in Cape Town.

Mathebula said it should be noted the minister saved the department R350?000 as the ministerial vehicle limit is R1.4 million when buying a car.

She also saved money by replacing a leased vehicle with a new vehicle, Mathebula said.

“In comparison, if a similar vehicle would have been leased from Kgwerano Financial Services, it would have cost the taxpayer R1 460 873.00 plus 30% residual, with no ownership to government at the end of the five year term.”

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