How SA politicians get away with blowing millions on new cars

 ·21 Feb 2017

Mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane and his deputy Godfrey Oliphant have each spent over R1.3 million on luxury vehicles in the past four months, according to Times Media.

The media group reported that Zwane purchased a luxurious Mercedes-Benz S400 for R1.35 million in February, while Oliphant purchased a Porsche Cayenne that cost taxpayers close to R1.33 million in November 2016.

The purchases occurred despite a 2016 announcement by finance minister Pravin Gordhan that politicians’ car allowance would be capped at R750,000.

According to documents seen by TMG, the reason National Treasury supported both purchases and approved the deviations from normal supply chain processes, because National Treasury’s transversal contract did not offer the cars they preferred.

The transversal contract

Government’s transversal contract lists nearly 1,500 vehicles which can be purchased as state cars from different suppliers at fixed prices.

This follows chapter five of the Ministerial Handbook for Members of the Executive and Presiding Officers which states that the total purchase price for the car or cars chosen by ministers may not exceed 70% of a minister’s annual remuneration package.

In addition, departments may purchase official vehicles directly from manufacturers or dealerships only when the current official vehicle for that office has reached 120,000 km or five years, whichever comes first.

The handbook also specifies that cabinet ministers are allowed two cars, one to meet their duties in Pretoria and the other for Cape Town while they attend Parliament.

“The rules in this regard are clear,” said departmental spokesperson Martin Madlala.

According to Madlala, the vehicle used by Zwane’s predecessor Ngoako Ramatlhodi – now the public service and administration minister – was older than five years and had done more than 200,000 km.

He confirmed that Zwane was granted permission by National Treasury to purchase vehicles for himself and Oliphant outside of the allocated range as the current transversal contract did not offer the cars they preferred.

Read: Government department forks out R14,000 per day for BMW hire

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