Ministers in South Africa can now spend more on luxury cars – here’s what they are driving

 ·6 May 2022

Finance minister Enoch Godongwana has provided an explanation of how much money members of president Cyril Ramaphosa’s executive are allowed to spend on vehicles.

While the latest ministerial handbook states that ministers and deputy ministers are restricted to a R700,000 limit when buying a new vehicle, the finance minister confirmed that this limit was subsequently increased through a Treasury instruction.

Answering in a recent written parliamentary Q&A, Godongwana said the price threshold for official vehicles for members of the executive is reviewed regularly and considers different criteria.

“Among these are budget constraints, the changing market price of vehicles, the practical requirements of executive members to fulfill their portfolio responsibilities, as well as safety and reliability, including for travelling in difficult terrain,” he said.

He added that the guide confers powers to the minister of finance to determine any annual adjustments to the threshold.

“The National Treasury maintains a transversal contract for the purchase of official vehicles for use by the executive which should be used by government departments. This contract allows for vehicles to be purchased directly from the manufacturer where the vehicle is new. This ensures superior value-for-money compared to purchasing vehicles from dealers,” he said.

The latest edition of the guide, which was published in 2019, states that the price for the purchase of official vehicles shall not exceed R700,000, inclusive of VAT, security upgrades and maintenance plans.

However, Godongwana noted that an instruction issued by the National Treasury in 2020 subsequently bumped this spending limit up to R800,000. The instruction also provides that it is the responsibility of each department to ensure confirmation of the price of security features is obtained from the South African Police Service prior to the finalisation of the vehicle purchase.

“The above is the most recent instruction note issued in this regard, and ongoing reviews will continue to be undertaken,” Godongwana said.

What ministers are driving 

Information collected by the opposition Democratic Alliance through a series of parliamentary questions shows taxpayers have paid for more than R20 million on new vehicles for ministers and deputy ministers over the past three years.

In terms of the ministerial guide, each minister and deputy is given a luxury vehicle to use in Pretoria and Cape Town, courtesy of the South African taxpayer. The cost of fuel, maintenance, tyres and tolls for all of these vehicles is also paid for.

The DA’s data shows the average cost for the 24 vehicles purchased was R789,736. At the time this was heavily criticised by the opposition party for being above the R700,000 limit, but is in fact below the R800,000 limit which was introduced in 2020 by Treasury.

A further breakdown of the vehicles which were bought can be found below.

Basic Education

  •  BMW 535i Sedan – R769,020

  • Mercedes Benz GLE 500 – R849,900

  • BMW 530 – R833,490

  • Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Quatro – R1,015,700

Home Affairs

  • BMW 520d – R668,000

International Relations and Cooperation

  • Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 VX A/T  – R635,435

  • Audi Q5 TDI Quattro S Troni – R660,060

Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities

  • Audi Q5 2.0 TDI S Tronic Sport – R690,000

  • Audi Q5 2.0 TDI S Tronic Sport – R690,000

Public Service and Administration

  • Audi A8 3.0 TDI Quattro Tiptronic – R750,000

  • Mercedes Benz GLC 250D – R799,660

  • A7 Sportback 3.0 TDI Quattro – R735,700

  • Ford  Everest 3.2 TDCI – R714,500

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