Jacob Zuma to ‘lead from the front’ on cost cuts

2013-10-24 14:36

President Jacob Zuma will “lead from the front” in attempts to cut spending on government perks, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane has said.

The order to curb spending on luxury cars, accommodation, travel and entertainment came from Zuma himself, Chabane told reporters today following Cabinet’s regular Wednesday fortnightly meeting.

“Once the guidelines (by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan) have been set out, we’ll then sit and look at the issues which relate to the presidency as a whole and adjust ourselves accordingly,” said Chabane.

In his medium-term budget policy statement yesterday, Gordhan announced that government intended to slash perks for all officials, from ministers to mayors, to save more than R2 billion. The new rules would apply from December 1 to all spheres of government, he said.

Chabane said Zuma’s instructions included “issues which impacted on the Ministerial Handbook”.

“Therefore the ministerial committee on the budget had to confer with the committee which is dealing with the Ministerial Handbook to ensure that those elements as the president directed are implemented,” said Chabane.

The minister said the long-awaited amendments to the Ministerial Handbook would be finalised soon – a promise which was made by government several times before.

The process of amending the handbook – which regulates the benefits and perks of public office bearers – has taken more than four years so far.

Chabane blamed the delay on the need for extensive consultations.

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