Column: A 7 Series, Trevor?
It's clear that someone (or some carmaker) has lots to gain from the current luxury car buying spree our humble public servants have embarked on.
If you're a cabinet or deputy minister and you have to be seen in a BMW, is there some fine print in your contract that states it has to be a 7 Series? (Or two, in the case of our honorable ministers.)
And that's not even the issue. Having a car in each city where you're based makes sense.
But a 7 Series? I've driven the roads around parliament (where these ministers have been known to occasionally stop by for a nap and a roast beef sarmie) and those are not 7 Series-roads. They are narrow, congested and a nightmare to navigate in little city cars.
I've supported Trevor Manuel's prudent economic policies, but that he now finds himself (along with several colleagues) embroiled in the fallout from a car buying spree is unnecessary and could so easily have been avoided.
Surely something smaller and more fuel efficient than a barge with 300-kW on tap from its 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 would be the more sensible option for a former finance minister? Heck, even a 730d would be less cringeworthy. At least it would return better fuel consumption.
If these official cars absolutely have to be BMWs, what is so wrong with a top-spec 3 Series, or a 5 Series, even. Although, since the Five is getting on in years, our ministers may have been cautioned against going this route, but that would create an opportunity to negotiate an excellent deal with tax payers’ monies…
It saddens that people who decide what their chauffeurs drive seemingly do not consider all the alternatives before checking boxes for loads of "standard options" and signing on the dotted line.
Frankly, I think a Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a far better car than the official car of choice. In an ideal world, cabinet ministers would be grateful for a fleet of white Toyota Corollas. They are, after all, public servants and not public idols.