South African taxpayers to fund ‘out-of-work’ politicians

Government will spend over R76 million of taxpayer’s money on ‘loss-of-office gratuities’ for politicians who did not return to parliament after this year’s national election.

The Sunday Times reports that this figure is set to continue rising in the coming weeks as payments are still being processed.

The gratuities will be paid to former ministers and MPs who completed at least a five-year term in office, with four months’ of pensionable salary being paid out for every five years of service completed.

This means that former ministers like Jeff Radebe and Derek Hanekom stand to earn at least R4.8 million each.

According to the paper, earning this package does not preclude politicians from accepting other public sector positions, or returning to parliament at a later date.

DA MP John Steenhuisen said that the packages were originally instituted to help MPs, but has since turned into an unnecessary and expensive benefit.

“What was originally intended as an amount to help get you back on your feet after leaving parliament has now turned into a R1 million-plus cash bonanza for many members,”  he said.

Updated ministerial handbook

In June government published its updated ministerial handbook, detailing the perks available to members of the executive.

The new guide covers everything from relocation expenses to cars, with most of the new perks appearing to be largely the same or slightly reined in from the previous ministerial handbook.

This guide also describes the new powers given to finance minister Tito Mboweni to directly curb spending on transport and other luxuries.

Some of the biggest and most notable perks include:

  • National Members and their spouses are also jointly entitled to 30 (thirty) single domestic business class flight tickets per annum;
  • The ministry of departmental works will be responsible for paying for water and lights as well as employing a domestic worker for ministerial  homes;
  • Rentals for phones (as well as the costs of official calls), the installation and maintenance of fax, internet/wifi and DSTV facilities will be paid for by the department;
  • National Members shall be provided with one vehicle for official use in each seat of office. Provincial Members shall be provided with one vehicle for official use.

Read: All the free perks for ministers in the updated ministerial handbook

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South African taxpayers to fund ‘out-of-work’ politicians