Zille drives cheapest, oldest official car

2011-05-14 16:13

Western Cape premier Helen Zille drives the oldest and cheapest official car in her province. Her official vehicle is a 2003 ­Mercedes-Benz E320, with a ­market value of R154 350.

According to the new Western Cape ministerial handbook, ­released last week, she qualifies for a vehicle with a value of R681 856, or 40% of her total ­remuneration package.

With that kind of money she could shop around for something like a Mercedes-Benz E350, BMW 530d or a BMW X5 35i based on current retail prices.

However, when buying official vehicles, cabinet members have to choose from a list compiled by Government Transport.

Zille is not the only Western Cape cabinet member whose ­vehicle is close to retirement: ­Education Minister Donald Grant travels in a 2007 Mercedes-Benz E280 valued at R261 300.

Health Minister Theuns Botha’s Mercedes-Benz S350 ­also dates back to 2007, but it is still worth a respectable R471 750.

Until now, only four new vehicles have been bought for members of the Western Cape cabinet.

Agriculture Minister Gerrit van Rensburg will take delivery of the priciest vehicle in the cabinet fleet within the next few weeks – a 2011 Audi Q7 TDI valued at R594 000.

He had to upgrade because his current ­official vehicle, a 2008 Mercedes ML 350, ­already has 240 000km on the clock.

Regulations stipulate that official ­vehicles have to be replaced after four years or 175 000km.

There are no plans to replace Zille’s ­Mercedes. “The premier is happy with the vehicle even though it is a 2003 model.

“It is still under the mileage limit,” said the province’s public works spokesperson, Solly ­Malatsi.

The Western Cape cabinet took over its current fleet from the previous cabinet, or uses vehicles taken from the state fleet.

From next year, if any Western Cape ­cabinet member buys an ­official vehicle that costs more than 40% of their total remuneration package – R596?000 – they will have to pay the balance of the purchase price back to the state.

Cabinet members’ remuneration packages provide for two ­vehicles – an official vehicle bought by the state and a car ­allowance.

They can buy what­ever they want with their car ­allowance.

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