UPDATE: A huge thank you to all our readers for your emails. We'll collate them and publish in a follow-up article. Comments for this article are OPEN.
Cape Town - On Sunday (March 26), Wheels24 published a report released by the Democratic Alliance revealing government vehicle purchases from 2014 to 2016.
The Democratic Alliance stated that more than R41-million has been spent by government on luxury cars.
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."
Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi, has responded to the article.
Read Muthambi's response verbatim below: Released by the Government Communication and Information System
It doesn't take much to realize that the article, ministers and their R41m luxury cars by Sergio Davids was written with the sole intention of casting aspersions and impugning the integrity of the ANC government.
First, the author boldly and proudly states that the article is inspired by the work of the Democratic Alliance in parliament. Nowhere in the article is there an attempt to solicit a perspective from the maligned individuals or their party. This is done with the full knowledge that by the time a reasonable explanation or rebuttal is made, the damage will be done.
Secondly, the author doesn't seem to associate the purchase of vehicles as tools of the trade. It needs emphasising that no illegality or crime is committed in government purchasing vehicles for Ministers and their deputies.
What do you think of Minister Faith Muthambi's response to the article? Has your opinion changed regarding government spending R41-million on luxury vehicles? Tell us via email, Facebook and Twitter.
Third, if the author had any intention of providing a fair and balanced commentary about individuals Ministers, he would have gone an extra mile to provide information on the kind of work they are expected to do. He would have factored the kind of distances Ministers would have to traverse to deal with real challenges of communities that are in the far flung rural and urban areas of Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape.
He would have factored the fact that the work of Ministers and their deputies is national, not confined to urban centers of his informers.
For instance, the Minister of Water and Sanitation must ensure that the community of Thohoyandou in Limpopo and those of Tsomo or Lusisiki in the Eastern Cape are equally served in terms of water provision. In addition she would have to respond to emergencies that come time to time in such provisioning.
Same as with the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, Ministers and their deputies are not office bound nor are based in one province. Travelling to inland provinces and to communities demands of them to use these vehicles.
Indeed, the author would have factored the distances between the offices of the Ministers and their constituencies. Such information would have assisted the author to have a sense of appreciation of the work this entails. The Presidency and the ANC office keeps record of all Ministerial activities in the communities.
This much is known or ought to be known by the Democratic Alliance-influenced author. Evidently when your political sympathies are inextricably linked with the Democratic Alliance, balance and fairness are conveniences that seemingly can be disposed of.
Fourth, the author tries very hard to project Ministers and their deputies in a bad light by juxtaposing communities' material conditions against their cars. In doing so, the author attempts to airbrush the history of racial subjugation and exploitation that gave rise to the economic hardships faced by our people.
The ANC is the party of liberation and continues to receive accolades for its efforts in ameliorating the material condition of the poor majority who are in the black and African. It is for this reason that election after election they have continued to express confidence in their movement.
Lastly, the author's feeble attempts in maligning the ANC will continue to fail as others have. Communities we visit continue to appreciate our presence and will not be distracted from appreciating the work done by this government and its deployees in government.
In summary, the article was written not so much with the intention to inform but to cast aspersions at men and women who are doing their best to take South Africa forward. With the Democratic Alliance facing internal turmoil around the issue of racism and promotion of white supremacist agenda, the timing of the article is not a mere coincidence. It serves the purpose of diverting attention from the party's internal wrangling.
This smacks of desperation. But as they say in politics (and now in journalism as we note), desperate times call for desperate measures.