MEC’s use of own car costs KZN a bundle

2009-10-09 00:00

KZN Economic Development and Tourism MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu was paid more than R383 000 by the provincial government in just four months for using his private vehicle on official buisness.

Minority Front (MF) leader Amichand Rajbansi, who asked a question in Parliament about the matter, said yesterday that at this rate, by his calculations, the MEC could end up getting R1,2 million for the year.

“The cost of national Minister Blade Nzimande’s car is child’s play compared to this,” Rajbansi said.

Mabuyakhulu was paid just over R93 000 in May; R110 000 in June; R9 000 in July and R83 000 in August.

Rajbansi said that if the figure is projected to five years — the term of office of an MEC — the amount would come out at R5,4 million.

“This will buy five S-Class Mercedes Benzes,” he added.

Rajbansi said MECs get paid a set rate by the Transport Department if they use their own vehicles.

He admitted that he had benefited from the system, but added that he had travelled from Durban, which is a reasonable distance.

The MF leader claimed that the bulk of Mabuyakhulu’s claim was for travelling expenses from Empangeni, where the MEC lives, to Pietermaritzburg.

“In my opinion, he should have used a state-provided house in Pietermaritzburg,” Rajbansi said.

Mabuyakhulu’s office queried why a parliamentary question had been leaked to the media before being answered in the legislature.

Spokesman Bheko Madlala said the MEC has broken no law and that it is of concern that public office bearers are coming under attack in this manner.

“Using his private car is a legal option open to him and he also does not decide the rate of reimbursement.

“The topography, number of official duties that have to be performed and distances travelled inform the choice of a vehicle as well as the kilometres travelled.

“This is the context in which this matter must be understood,” Madlala said.

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