The DA has an alternative Presidential Handbook – here’s what’s inside

The Democratic Alliance has on Thursday proposed a new cost-cutting alternative Presidential Handbook.

DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, said that the document aims to ensure that the person who occupies the Presidency is not given free rein with the people’s money, but is held to clear and precise standards and guidelines so as to ensure public funds are used to uplift the poor and deliver services.

Maimane noted that under president Jacob Zuma, the budget for the Presidency has increased more than 225% from R452.5 million in 2008/09 to R1.15 billion for 2014/15.

“The purpose of this Presidential Handbook is two-fold, in that it not only ensures appropriate support to the Presidency but also, crucially, sets quantifiable limits on that expenditure,” he said.

The DA said that its Presidential Handbook has been drafted in such a way as to remove any ambiguity – such as a swimming pool being charitably termed a “firepool”.

It seeks to avoid any future Nkandlas and blue light brigades, R4 billion jets and bloated VIP Protection Services.

“One of the DA’s core beliefs is that every cent of public money – that is, money contributed by the people of South Africa and intended to be spent on the public good – is directed at achieving a better future for all South Africans, particularly the poorest. This Presidential Handbook thus seeks to action this belief,” Maimane said.

He said that the current Presidential Handbook, which was made public in November last year, ‘is an open-ended and toothless instrument that has done next to nothing to curtail the President’s careless spending’.

Read: No more blue lights or fancy parties for politicians in Tshwane: DA mayor

The DA said its Handbook is a comprehensive document that covers Acceptance of Office; Remuneration, Benefits, Taxation and Leave; Residences; Transport; Relinquishing of Office; Travel Privileges of Former Presidents/ Deputy Presidents and their Spouses; Entertainment; and Miscellaneous.

Maimane highlighted a few of its key features in the DA Presidential Handbook:

  •  Introduces a detailed Presidential Ethics Code, similar to but more detailed than the Executive Ethics Code which currently does not apply to the President. This Code focuses on financial interests, gifts, and conflict of interest;
  • Compels the President and Deputy President to disclose all business interests, as well as the business interests held by their families, in entities that conduct business with the National Government;
  • Restricts business interests in entities conducting business with the National Government; prescribing that the President or Deputy President cannot have business interests in any entity if he/she “directly or indirectly owns or controls more than 5% of the shares, stocks, membership or other interest of that entity”.
  • Prescribes that the President and Deputy President’s financial interests be published in the Government Gazette annually;
  • Stipulates what should occur in the event of a failure to comply with the Presidential Ethics Code. These include, as the case may be, the initiation of impeachment proceedings by the National Assembly; an investigation by the Public Protector; or the matter being referred to the Constitutional Court;
  • Details spousal support and sets important limitations. These include capping total spend on spousal support at 45% of the President or Deputy President’s inclusive annual remuneration package; capping the cost of vehicles at 15% and prohibiting their replacement during the President or Deputy President’s term of office; and, setting conditions for providing spouse(s) with private secretaries;
  • Discontinues Private Motor Vehicle Allowances for the President and Deputy President as dedicated vehicles are always available for their transport requirements;
  • States that motor vehicles can only be replaced during the President and Deputy President’s term “as a result of non-repairable mechanical breakdown or in the event that necessary repairs exceed the value of the vehicle”.
  • Details permissible security upgrades at the private residences of the President and Deputy President. Expenditure on security upgrades are furthermore capped at R1 million with upgrades exceeding this amount subject to approval by Parliament;
  • Compels the President and Deputy President to only travel with dedicated SANDF aircraft or, when unavailable, commercial airlines;
  • Holds the President and Deputy President responsible for non-official travel costs, i.e. the State no longer carries the cost of private or party travel; and caps travel privileges of former Presidents and Deputy Presidents and their spouse(s).

Maimane pointed out that the Western Cape Government has its own Ministerial Handbook, which has been operational since 2011, and which mirrors this Presidential Handbook in many ways.

The DA also noted that at a local government level, within the first month in office, the DA-led City of Tshwane put a ban on the purchase of luxury cars for government employees.

The Mayor of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga, redirected 10 new BMW vehicles – which were purchased by the previous ANC administration for over R5-million – to the Tshwane Metro Police Department‚ where they will serve in a newly formed Anti-Hijack Unit.

“Government is about governing for the people. We need fewer frills and more frugality, so that our people can truly experience a better life. This Presidential Handbook seeks to do just that,” Maimane said.

Read the full contents of the DA’s alternative Presidential Handbook here

More on politics

Tshwane politicians to switch Mercs and BMWs for Hyundais and Toyotas

Minister won’t comment on R11,000 hotel splurge

Biggest wasteful spenders in SA government

Treasury has barely made a dent in ‘wasteful’ spending

Must Read

Partner Content

Show comments

Trending Now

Follow Us

The DA has an alternative Presidential Handbook – here’s what’s inside