Mulder’s Q7 causes a stir

Dr Pieter Mulder, the leader of Freedom Front Plus, is the proud

new owner of a R753 974 automobile – paid for by the taxpayer.

The fancy Audi Q7 caused quite a stir when Mulder rocked up for a

party leadership meeting last weekend.

Last year, City Press’s sister newspaper Rapport reported in detail

how Mulder, unlike his colleagues in the ANC, had not been rewarded with an

expensive official car or official residences in Cape Town and Pretoria.

“I think the public’s criticism of ministers is reasonable,” said

Mulder. “Ministers followed the letter of the ministerial textbook and said to

hell with the rest.”

He added that the Jeep Cherokee he inherited from his predecessor,

the late Dirk du Toit, would have to be replaced.

When City Press asked about the pricy Q7, Wouter Wessels, the

deputy minister’s secretary, supplied a long answer, mainly out of the

ministerial handbook.

“The department budgets for a new official vehicle when the

­existing vehicle reaches the 120 000km reading or a life span of five years.

This policy is ­prescribed by the ministerial handbook.

“At 120?000km the service contract lapses and the maintenance costs

increase.

The ministerial handbook (Chapter 5, 1.2.3) determines that a new

official ­vehicle with a comprehensive service contract and/or plan

(120?000km/five years) must be bought,” Wessels said.

The Jeep Cherokee’s odometer reading is now 179?572km. Since March

last year it has needed 12 mechanical repairs. When the Jeep is out of service a

car must be rented – an expense added to the cost of the mechanical

repairs.

The cost of repairs amounted to R68 401.12.

The total maintenance

and repair costs for the 2009/10 financial year amounted to R186 124.22.

Wessels said it would be an ­embarrassment should the minister be

unable to keep an appointment because his vehicle had ­broken down.

The department had insisted that a new vehicle with a new service

contract be put into service.

The vehicle was the property of the department.

“The car does not belong to the deputy minister.

It is not parked

in his garage and it is not driven by him,” Wessels said.

At R753?974, the new Audi Q7 cost the equivalent of 50.3% of

Mulder’s annual salary.

The ministerial handbook ­allows for the equivalent of up to 70% of

annual pay.

Wessels said that optional extras were added in the interest of

safety and to ­ensure that passengers could continue to work during long trips

and at night.

The car’s blue lights were ­removed at Mulder’s ­request.


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