Ministers' bling days over?

2009-10-28 22:23

Cape Town - Public Service Minister Richard Baloyi has hinted that the quality of cars purchased by ministers might be downgraded.

He also admitted that it bothers him that large sums of money are spent on buying expensive cars for ministers during a time of economic stringency.

"My response if that yes, it does bother," he told a media briefing in Parliament on Wednesday called to discuss the question of ministerial cars and ministerial housing. "We are considering options," he said.

Downgrading the cars would, he stressed, be only one option. But he is prepared to consider others, including one suggested by a participant in the press conference who wanted to see ministers drawing a car from a government pool.

He said the way the rules in the ministerial handbook are implemented becomes important. "It is in the manner as to how you manage these things," he said.

The minister pointed out that the handbook does not say the minister must purchase a car valued at 70% of his salary: it says he may not spend more than this on his wheels.

Baloyi said he did not want to pre-empt the outcome of the review of the ministerial handbook, because he did not want to make it his personal decision. But he agreed that the review should produce results soon.

Tools for work

Sapa reports the minister emphasised, however, that the luxury vehicles many members of President Jacob Zuma's new Cabinet have acquired over the past six months are but "tools to do work".
He said ministers had to be "highly mobile" in order to carry out their duties.

"They have to travel from one place to another, doing work... There has to be a conducive environment in order for them to do their work."

"It [is] the responsibility of government to provide the necessary minimum resources that are required for ministers to do their work," Baloyi said.

Over the past six months, Cabinet members have spent, in total, tens of millions of rands on luxury vehicles, many fitted with expensive accessories, for official use in both Cape Town and Pretoria.

"It's within the prescription [of the Ministerial Handbook]," Baloyi said.

  • sceptic - 2009-10-28 22:45

    I'll believe it when i see it.

  • Anti bling - 2009-10-28 23:07

    I have an option that Mr Baloyi can take into account.
    Let the ministers choose any car they like, but if it costs more than R350K, let them pay in the difference out of the exhorbitant salaries they earn.

  • Barbara - 2009-10-28 23:22

    "They have to travel from one place to another, doing work... There has to be a conducive environment in order for them to do their work."
    An interesting comment. It would interest me even more if they could actually justify why they need to do all this "travelling"
    When a minister wants something, he summons. He most certainly does not get in his car and go anywhere, except to some social function or such like.
    It would also be interesting to hear the justification on why the escort cars for our politicians have to be top of the range cars as well. It would also be interesting to find out why they need an escort. Surely they can not be scared of the electorate, of whom 80% put them there in the first place.

  • Screwed - 2009-10-28 23:36

    I feel robbed. Tax money must be used to better the lives of the needy, not the greedy.

  • jaycee - 2009-10-29 06:00

    "Minimum resources" he says! First Baloyi talks some sense, referring to the fact that the vehicle requirement can be downgraded, but then he loses the argument when he says the ministers need tools to work with and they have to be very mobile, etc. Do you need a R1 million car to travel at 120 km/h?

  • Sandra - 2009-10-29 06:04

    If I have to use 70 persent of my salary to identify a car price for my own use I will be able to buy a an old secondhand car. I am also over qualified for a ministers position but still need jail experience.

  • Solo - 2009-10-29 06:15

    Maybe they should be utilising the new Rapid Bus transport system????

  • Setshaba - 2009-10-29 07:09

    A car costing approximately R400 000 is also comfortable for one to do his/her job. To go beyond than is simple just showing off...that you're in government, and people are struggle out to for better life.

  • j - 2009-10-29 07:22

    Keep the cars, trade in the Ministers

  • MikeF - 2009-10-29 07:27

    Isn't it amazing how becoming a member of parliament or a cabinet minister suddenly makes you aware of how self-important you are. Nathi Mthetwa suddenly realises that staying in a 5-star hotel is not good enough for his ministerial status. He needs to stay in the presidential suite. No matter what it's gonna cost the Country. At a time when the poorer voters who were promised a better life must endure poverty, joblesness and homelesness. The Zuma government suddenly realises that the house previously occupied by police commissioners is not good enough for new commissioner Bheki Cele. He needs to be upgraded to a R3.3 million house. And the cabinet ministers should get R1.2 million BMW's whos value depreciate so rapidly that it doesn't make economic sense to trade them back for "cheaper" cars. Thats the explanation given by our minister of planning Trevor (error of judgement) Manuel.
    And we are supposed to trust this previously highly regarded minister with the planning of our Country. Self-important ministers who serve themselves first, ensuring a better life for themselves, while the people who voted them into service, (not power) will have to live on the margins much longer. Because you see, we haven't got the funds for housing, enabling employment by creating jobs, we haven't got money to help restore our people's dignity. Because our leaders come first. We first have to secure their comfort and their luxury. And whatever funds remain will be spent on the needs of our people.

  • Jason - 2009-10-29 07:47

    ... And according to the Minister of Finance our taxes are going to increase - For what? to buy expensive cars, go on luxury 5 star holidays and host office parties in Parliament. The government need to get their priorities right. Rather build houses and feed the poor... and maybe there will be less violent protests in this country.

  • Dee - 2009-10-29 07:53

    A fat lot of good these ideas are now that the ministers all have purchased their luxury cars already.

  • Paul Young - 2009-10-29 07:55

    This is only an excercise in damage control. If the ANC were serious about this they would have dealt swiftly with it when the first outcry was made, much like they did in the Caster and Free State University issues. They got the bling and like Trevor Manual said yesterday the devaluation (another reason not to buy such expensive vehicles), makes it uneconomical to change the vehicles now.

  • Arthur - 2009-10-29 07:56

    I would like to see these ministers drive their luxury cars to some of the hot spots where the lack service delivery is being protested. Let's see what the real people think about this extravagance.

  • Big Popp - 2009-10-29 08:00

    I am hugely dissappointed by the current administration vis-a-vis the purchase of cars. They are proving one thing to me, that they are just a flock of sheeps who easily bow to the ever hauling DA vitriol. The opposition have all this time trying to prove and characterise this govt as a bunch of looters who are there to squander the public funds and enrich themselves and defnately not as govt. This ministerial handbook was not written by this administration and defnately its contents too. The have added nothing new or less to the handbook, yet they allow themselves to be at the receiving end of all this flack. Maybe DA is right, maybe they are not fit to govern, if they easily crumble this way, and we will see next where else are they gonna crumble. DA is systematically reducing the strategic capacity of this administration to function and deliver so they can be the first ones to point out at the deficiencies and says ANC has failed, but what worries me most is how the very same ANC allows to be undermined in this fashion by the DA, with all the financial expose it publishes about govt expenses. As a loyal servant of the liberation struggle, i wonder if this is not the time to close the shop and go home?

  • Barry - 2009-10-29 08:03

    Luxury vehicles are not a necessity to travel to ones work.Thousands of people do it evey day in ordinary cars. What makes them any better. A far mor economical system is pool car system.

  • Lucky - 2009-10-29 08:11

    I understand that might the regulations outlined in this ministrial handbook that they are talking about but as a human being we must undersatnd and aknowledge that now is not a right time. The tens of millions used on these cars can actually make a difference if put in good use, like delivering service to the citizens on the country. Is not healthy for a public to be protesting for things that they are entitled to have such as basic service as mentioned. I think is time for Mr Zuma to put pressure on those who continue to go over bored and spend taxpayers money like is theirs.

  • faithless - 2009-10-29 08:18

    words...empty words to appease the flock...when action is taken against this flagrant misuse of TAX-PAYERS money then have a press conference

  • Ash - 2009-10-29 08:19

    This will only happen when billions of tax payers money is already spent on these cars. Watch how these guys will rush out to purchase vehicles.

  • AJ - 2009-10-29 08:22

    Goes to show that no guidelines can usurp the value of good judgement - which is sadly lacking in this instance and many others where civil servants are involved

  • nigel - 2009-10-29 08:28

    Here are 3 undeniable reasons why they should not be wasting taxpayers money on luxury cars, lavish parties & 5 star hotels...1stly we are in the worst recession since 1930 & many people have lost their jobs & homes, 2nd 70% of South Africans are still living in poverty, & 3rd it wouldn't be so shocking if they were actually doing their jobs.

  • Thato - 2009-10-29 08:29

    Its about time!
    Citezens report cases with local police station and its said that they dont have cars.
    At times an abulance cannot come through to an accident scene because they dont have cars - While our ministers are sitting on a luxury gold-mine.Some people go to bed without food, nor shelter. How do our ministers sleep at night?Even more so the funds the splash is my money and yours.No child in South Africa should go to bed hungry or live without getting quality education.

  • GeePMB - 2009-10-29 08:29

    The ministerial handbook was approved by the very same government that now is complaining about it, that's akin the the fox looking after the chickens. Yes, ministers need reliable transport, no one doubts that but cars with R25k of bling extras has no impact on him doing his job. Two options 1) a car pool or 2) a reduced car allowance limiting vehicls to a maximum on R400k. There are more than enough luxury cars in this price range that will get them from A to B quite comfortably!

  • cc - 2009-10-29 08:30

    Only after each minister bought his/her cars they are looking to downgrade the quality? The money is spent, there is nothing we can do about it now!

  • Marcus - 2009-10-29 08:33

    My car is also a tool to do my work, I unfortunately have to buy my own, thats the difference between owning a car worth R200K anf R1.5M

  • So post the comments already! - 2009-10-29 08:33

    By the time they finish talking about this - which they have been doing since July - ALL the fatcats will already have bought their overpriced cars and "won't be able to return them because it will cost too much". So all this talk about changing the rules is just more BS to cover their tracks while the last few get their orders in...

  • Viren - 2009-10-29 08:36

    The ANC fought so hard for the freedom of our people, and now that they have this power our people have been returned to their "SHACKLES". Our MEC's are so busy lining their pockets, the last thing on their minds is the well-being of man on the street. They need to be reminded that they are the servants of the people and therefore, should serve the needs of the people.
    We need to be very carefull for the people are starting to rise up. That anger is bubbling withen us. To our people in GOVT, don't say you have'nt been warned.

  • car dealer - 2009-10-29 08:40

    these cars are status symbols in SA, how will Saffirs respond if the president drive a Toyota Corolla?

  • Randy - 2009-10-29 09:03

    A R250000 car can do the same job as a R1.2million one. My R100 000 one even can do what that minister-bling can do...

  • Gordon - 2009-10-29 09:24

    he ministral handbook refered to by the Minster was written by the old regime whose ministers used as their guide line to expenditure. why suddenly is it unacceptable, is it because the race of the users have changed, did those distractors chellenge Vorster about his expenditure on motor vehicles. Misterial cars must be fitted out to permit a minister to continue to work even when he/she is on the road and the cost of this in addtion to the price of the vehicle seems wayout. maybe one should be looking at what dealers are charging the government for vehicles. like most businesses in South Africa they overcharge for a majority of what they sell and who owns the dealers, certainly not black folk.

  • Dr Siv Mudaly - 2009-10-29 09:28

    It is good that someone is trying to correct the abuse. It is a disgrace that these new ministers are so corrupt. Now at last Manual has revealed his corruptness. What example are these new national ministers to the provincial and municipal ministers and officials who they accuse of corruption. These new ones who supposed to have replaced the corrupt old regime but do the same - they are in fact are all the same. So we should pray for them to be removed.

    The Minister of Tax (although he calls himself that of finance) set up a system to extract tax and vat without mercy and justice from over 60 wage earners and small business, just that he can give it over to the corrupt officials to abuse for personal enrichment. There is no difference between the violent hijackers and the common house thief and the taxman or the corrupt officials who prey upon the common people - they are all greedy for gain. It is non patriotic, nobody cares for the well being of the poor or country's growth. Whilst we pray for the inflation and petrol price to decrease, and the GDP to get into positive territory and the crime to cease, the enemies of this rainbow country, the spoilers are making whoopee.

    Guess all politicians are two faced, even in the UK whilst they call for end to tax heavens they try to create tax heavens for them selves with second homes, claiming for expenses not entitles, employing their buddies and having interests in business they direct contracts to. What will happen on judgement day.

    Let the officials and ministers become servants of the people again – let them have access only to common utilities of the poor man to do his work. Take away the luxuries and privileges so they become servants again.

  • @ngry - 2009-10-29 09:31

    You can feed 20000 hungry children for 1 month with your R 1,5m car , but you would rather see people killing each other over food.YOU are the real murderers in this country.YOU should be jailed for crimanal activities

  • Derick - 2009-10-29 10:03

    This proofs the point of ministers not connecting with their voters and lining their own pockets. The people has eyes and ears. You will be sacked like Thabo Mbeki, with disgrace.

  • Mkhwenyane - 2009-10-29 10:06

    Nice one...give that they already bought the cars they wanted!!! How many police cars could be bought with savings on more resonably priced ministers vehicles? Just a thought from someone whose local police station can't look after him and his neighbours due to a lack of mobility.

  • @cardealer - 2009-10-29 10:13

    @cardealer; you are hiding behind the orange flag with your "Saffirs" word. You liked it when the Nationalist government was doing the very same thing now that it's ANC government, the country is falling apart. we are aware of the disgruntled people like you that we can never satisfy, maybe you can join the Hutley nation outside of this country. Viva Malema, Viva the X5's, aluta continua.

  • Eslje - 2009-10-29 10:14

    Let`s face it,this is just a sly way to steal the taxpayers moeney.Look what is happening here in the Uk with all the mp`s expenses.They now have to give money back.That should happen in SA as well.The fact of the matter is ,that if they manage the country better,there could be an incentive for good governing,but these people in high posts have no ethics.

  • J ON - 2009-10-29 10:15

    1 x Isuzu or Nissan or Toyota double cab for each minister. That will ensure they can go anywhere and be safe. Top quality for R350 000. You dont need more than that. And given the state our roads are deteiorating at. These R1m cars wont be usefull on the roads anyway.

  • vc - 2009-10-29 10:23

    What’s new? Why should it surprise us on what the government does these days. The problem stems from the people in this country who have been taken in by these fat cats. The people of this country- especially the poor need to take a serious look at the kind of leaders they have elected in this country. You would have thought that they would have learned over the last 15 years, that these guys are a bunch of idiots who only turn up at election time and make empty promises. The only time things will change in this country, is if the people change and realise that what they have created is not a democracy but apartheid in reverse. Some years ago when I was at Uni- there was a organisation in the SRC called SASCO (part of ANCYL) - they used to spend loads of money on vehicles- one year they bought and wrote off 7 vehicles - money that was supposed to be used for students on campus. I guess they start of young when it comes to exploiting their constituency. I used to think that Manuel although in a corrupt government was one of the good guys- boy was I seriously mistaken- he is just like the rest of them- he couldn't wait to get on the gravy train(or should I say BMW)and milk it for everything he could get.Anyway what makes these guys so special- we all work as hard as they do- if not harder - why should we be giving them more taxes- our hard earned money so that they can "live it up". I hated the apartheid government, but they didn't exploit the people like these guys. Sometimes I think they look at the naive people of this country and are laughing their way to the bank.

  • Don - 2009-10-29 10:29

    What these idiots don't understand is that they are 'public servants', they work for us and spend out money. Strange how the ANC supporting masses don't mind their own tax money being spent while they don't have a proper house. I couldn't care for the poor of our country anymore, you vote them in, you sit in your tin shanty. You won't change your vote, you won't change your circumstance, go hungry go poor, I care less.

  • kirsten - 2009-10-29 10:31

    When our democracy started out in 1994, did our dear ANC politicians of that time foresee how their comrades would be spending so lavishly today?. But we quick to comment on sports emblems and the likes where positive results for our country comes out. Recession, what recession?

  • Neil - 2009-10-29 10:32

    Maybe the phrase "Let them eat cake...." is foreign to the ANC. Maybe they should read a bit of history and discover what happened to the person who muttered those immortal words. She lost her head, I believe!

  • Lotus - 2009-10-29 11:57

    Ministerial and government cars should be standard make, model, colour with the state or republic insignia on the doors!

  • Jay Jay - 2009-10-29 12:42

    I am prpared to bet that the handbook will be changed after all Ministers have bought their new cars, The changes will therefore only affect there successors.

    I wonder what the reaction will be if all citizens refuse paying income tax on the grounds that the cabinet and their appointed cadres are wasting the state's income rather than spend it on economic growth to create jobs and lift more people out of poverty. The easy route is to give away more in allowances and grants to sooth the masses by saying "look, we are not just taking we are also giving you R240,00 per month, go and buy a brown bread while I eat the meat and pudding."

  • Liza - 2009-10-29 13:15

    They should be driving bottom of the range cars and paying for it themselves judging by the shocking results they have achieved work wise. Everything has deteriorated - roads, schools, safety, municipalities, courts, hospitals, services etc. etc. The bling ministers are only interested in lining their own pockets and to hell with the poor and needy. At one time I really believed that "Error" Manual was a sensible man, well, he proved me wrong as he is just as greedy as the rest.

  • zack - 2009-10-29 13:30

    the public minister who was on the news has no idea what ministers do and had to lie to the media to justify why they need million rand cars, ..most of the ministers have no skills or qualifications for their posts and they are just a huge waste of our money

  • Viv - 2009-10-29 13:40

    I sincerely hope that when it comes to electing our new government in a couple years time that the masses remember just how the ministers/government officials behave once in power and use their brains and vote differently. Forget what bloody the colour of the government is and just vote for those people who will actually do something for our country instead of themselves. We can only hope! If Malema becomes president anyone will pale skin will be deep in the k*k!

  • Sadned - 2009-10-29 13:44

    people are suffering and ministers are enriching themselves it shows that they are not good leaders a leader is someone who lay his life for the followers not abantu basiphetheyo DA SHOW THEM ON HOW TO BE A LEADER JONGANI E CAPE TOWN ON HOW DA IS DOING

  • willem2 - 2009-10-29 14:43

    give them each a hilux d/cab.more than enough luxury and they can go anywhere

  • Spikiri - 2009-10-29 15:57

    @Willem2, a double cab is too sportish. A normal toyota hilux van will be enough. In that way we know they got the tools to work. This "touch me nice treat me sweet, I am minister" kinda attitude should come to an end. We as normal working citizens are not gonna sit back and watch. We will fight this non**nse spending. When the Governor of SARB says we should cut the fat, wot are MPs cutting?

  • moilwa - 2009-10-29 17:21

    i dont see any stoping from ministers from purchasing expensive cars, it will not stop now but if the will be some strict procedure,just imagine if is possible to drive bmw 750i in the rural area is not possible. let them buy reasonable cars that can be driven in any infrustracture.please lets just save before we experience resetion forever.