Three don’t want new cars

2014-06-03 00:00

CAPE TOWN — At least three ministers have indicated they will follow the example by Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene not to buy new official cars.

Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology, and Mildred Oliphant, Minister of Labour — both ministers from the previous cabinet — yesterday confirmed they will keep their current vehicles.

Pandor’s Mercedes-Benz ML is five years old while Olifant bought a new car last year.

The new Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana, also said he has no plans to buy a new car but will continue using the vehicle left by his predecessor Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

The Times yesterday reported Nene had asked ministers to be moderate in buying official vehicles in view of the slow growth rate.

Nene indicated he will not be buying a new car anytime soon and will instead continue to use the Nissan Pathfinder he had as deputy minister of finance.

In terms of the ministerial handbook, ministers and their deputies can buy two official cars, one for Pretoria and one for Cape Town.

The cost of each car must not exceed more than 70% of the minister’s annual salary. Ministers get about R2,1 million a year while deputy minister get R1,7 million.

The ministerial handbook also determines that departments may buy official cars if the current model has been driven for 120 000 km or is five years old.

The DA said their research shows that ministers in the previous term spent at least R32,5 million on new cars, and another R16,2 million in 2012.

On top of this, more than R9 million was spent on hiring cars in 2012.

Pravin Gordhan, former minister of finance, announced strict cost-saving measures in October last year, which includes a ban on credit cards and alcohol at state functions.

Opposition parties, however, complained and the measures were considerably watered down when the Treasury announced its regulations in December.

In terms of these regulations, which came into effect on January 1, fuel and credit cards may be used for travel and accommodation and alcohol may be served at state banquets.

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