SPLURGING ON CARS: Audi's luxury Q7 is a favourite among government vehicle purchase. Image: Quickpic
Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance has investigated South African minsters' vehicle expenses and has found that more than R40m has been spent by government on luxury cars.
The party's research covers vehicles purchased by ministers from 2014 to date. It reports that R10m has been set aside for ministerial car purchases in the 2016/2017 budget.
DA's Shadow Minister of Public Service and Administration, Desiree van der Walt, said: "After submitting a range of parliamentary questions across all governmental departments, the DA can reveal that the government has spent a total of R41 960 075 on the procurement of luxury vehicles for Ministers and their Deputies between 2014 and 2017.
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"It is revealing that these ANC ministers continue to spend such outrageous amounts of public money on luxury vehicles, when millions of unemployed South Africans struggle to put food on the table.
"Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, has been calling on austerity measures in government spending since 2013. It seems that his colleagues are simply refusing to listen."
READ: SA Ministers' luxury cars: Minister Muthambi responds
The worst offender? The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, which splurged a staggering R5 505 351 on cars for minister Gugile Nkwinti and his deputies.
The Porsche Cayenne is one of the most expensive cars on the list with a pricetag of R1.3-million.
Some of government's top car spenders:
• Department of Transport: R3 453 870 87
• Department of Justice: R3 275 138
• Department of Public Enterprise: R2 669 377 77
• Department of Agriculture: R2 502 425 10
• Department of Telecommunications: R2 383 769 14
According to the SA ministerial handbook, ministers are allowed two vehicles to be used in Cape Town and Pretoria. The value of the vehicle may not be more than 70% of the minister's salary.
Currently ministers earn upward of R2.3m annually and deputy ministers R1.9m. This means that the value of the purchased vehicle(s) may not surpass R1.6m and R1.3m, respectively.
Justice Project South Africa chairman, Howard Dembovsky, said: "Wow! So the Porsche Cayenne GTS was purchased for Mineral Affairs? Scandalous!
"The opulence of the Ministers and their deputies speaks volumes of their belief that they must be ferried around in luxury at the expense of the taxpayer and only the most luxurious vehicles are fit for that purpose."
"Aside from the preference for expensive luxury sedans, I see that there exists a glaring preference for expensive and luxurious Audi, BMW, Lexus, Jeep and Mercedes-Benz SUVs in most departments.
"Apart from the single Toyota Fortuner in the list, I can’t find a single 4x4 with any 'real off-road' and/or gravel road pedigree to speak of. Given the fact that the vast majority of South Africa’s roads are unpaved, it stands to reason that the second one has to stray from the tarred roads network, you will need a vehicle which is built for that purpose and won’t break down at the first sniff of dust in its highly sophisticated electronic components."
What about the DA's vehicle purchases?
Van der Walt said: Where the DA governs, we spend public money on the people, so that opportunities are created. In the DA-run Tshwane, Mayor Solly Msimanga rejected 10 BMW 3 series, which were bought by the previous ANC administration. They have now been used to form part of a new anti hi-jack unit.
Tshwane mayor Solly Msimaga said: "No new luxury cars will be bought or leased for politicians‚ and if vehicles currently owned by Tshwane require replacement‚ sensible and low-cost vehicles will be procured. I will not allow public money to be spent on luxury cars‚ while our people struggle for services‚ houses and jobs. No more luxury cars will be bought or leased under my government."
Click here for the detailed breakdown of expenditure (list by the DA)
Ministers' car list
Here's the list of the Ministers cars: What they drive, when it was purchased and what the cars cost. It's important to note that some departments are not included, therefore the actual total would be substantially more than just R41-million.