DA blasts Premier Mabuza's Merc cabinet

2014-11-06 20:50

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Mbombela - Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza and his MECs have been severely criticised for loving expensive Mercedes Benz vehicles following revelations that the provincial government spent part of R32m to buy 24 of the German machines in the past five years.

In response to questions from DA leader in the province, Anthony Benadie, the Premier Mabuza's Office revealed that the vehicles on which the amount was spent include 12 Mercedes Benz ML 4x4s, nine BMW X5s and three Range Rovers among others.

"A total of 39 vehicles have been purchased at a value of R32 807 550.53... with the Mercedes ML500 winning the race for popularity with a total of 12 purchases. A close runner up is the BMW X5 which just misses first place at a total of nine purchases," said Benadie in a statement issued this week.

Benadie said Mabuza had clearly set a bad example for his MECs, with R3.6m spending on hired vehicles.

"The premier's love for flashy and expensive cars has obviously set the standard for what can be seen throughout all departments as excessive expenditure on high-class luxury vehicles. Mabuza is the clear leader of the pack splashing R6.2m on six vehicles over a period of five years," he said, adding that Mabuza's vehicles included a R1.37m Range Rover which the premier was trying to hide from the public.

Mabuza's spokesperson Zibonele Mncwango justified the purchase of the ML 500 4x4s, saying many factors were considered before any vehicle is purchased.

“Not that there's something with the Mercedes Benz ML. Before cars are bought there are certain specifications that are looked at. First would be the area in which the person will be working and driving the vehicle to, looking also at the road conditions in the province...  We want a vehicle that can withstand the roads," said Mncwango.

‘Premier did not spend too much’

The spokesperson said the premier's office had already responded on Mabuza's vehicle purchases.

“Let us put it on record that we stand by the statement we issued in January that the premier did not spend too much money on cars unnecessarily...  We cannot be answering the very same questions now and again from the DA. We have given information which is true and there's nothing to hide, which is the same as that we gave to the Public Protector regarding the purchase of cars in the premier’s office,” said Mncwango.

Benadie said the DA would continue its oversight mandate to expose the ANC's "extravagance, indulgent and obsession with self-importance."

"While government continues to blame the 2009 recession for Mpumalanga’s tight economic situation, this extravagant purchase is an insult to Mpumalanga’s residents, especially poverty stricken communities struggling to make ends meet on a daily basis and often battling to put a plate of food on the table for their children to eat while the ANC high 'drivers' are living it up," said Benadie.

Read more on:    da  |  david mabuza  |  mbombela  |  local government  |  government spending

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