In a recent article – Important Stories You May Have Missed This Month – we mentioned that the National Treasury may soon be tasked with purchasing suitable vehicles for all ministers, deputy ministers, MEC’s and provincial premiers, in an effort to curb wasteful expenditure.
This all depends on whether plans to revise the current ministerial handbook will become a reality or not – revisions that will also see South African ministers barred from flying first class and taking their spouses on international trips.
The rampant splurging on luxury vehicles, in particular, has been a source of ire for South African citizens and opposition parties for some time now. Especially given the economic pressure we’re currently facing.
A couple of years ago, the DA even made a point of trading in their luxury vehicles for more modest modes of transport, such as Toyota Corolla’s or Hyundai i20’s.
In 2017, it was reported that the ANC government had blown R42 million on luxury vehicles for ministers and their deputies in a three-year period.
Former Minister of Total Corruption, Faith Muthambi, once stated that ANC ministers and their deputies select expensive vehicles due to their lengthy travel requirements. They have to drive all the way out to rural and urban areas of the country.
You may remember Muthambi as being the minister behind the complete collapse of the SABC, employing an unnecessary personal staff of 27 people – most of them her family, trading confidential emails with the Guptas and blowing half a million in taxpayer funds to fly friends and family around the country. What a stand up gal she is.
Anyway, a report compiled by Africa Check just last year, showed that members of our horrendously bloated cabinet receive 25% of their salary towards a private vehicle – which includes maintenance and comprehensive insurance. These are just part of the benefits that come with serving as a member of the government.
However, the DA has stated that ministers are often spending a whole lot more, and that this extravagant expenditure is protected by a very flawed ministerial handbook – which states that ministers and deputy ministers are permitted to spend up to R3.5 million and R2.9 million on a vehicle, respectively.
Let’s have a look at some of the vehicles these ministers are driving in 2019, and how much they’re worth. Bear in mind that this data includes all vehicles purchased since April 2016, and only includes the information currently available.
These are the departments of trade and industry, transport, social development and tourism. It excludes the other 32 portfolios, including the president and deputy president.
• Toyota Fortuner (purchased 19 May 2016) – R623,788.94
• Toyota Fortuner (purchased 19 May 2016) – R625,718.94
• Toyota Fortuner (purchased in April 2017) – R557,927
• Mercedes Benz E350D AMG (purchased in July 2017) – R924,146
• Jaguar XJ 3.0 (purchased in April 2017) – R800,000
• BMW X5 (purchased in April 2017) – R984, 896
• BMW 740i (purchased 25 September 2016) – R1,302,525
• Jeep Grand Cherokee (purchased 29 July 2016) – R1,161,687
• BMW 740i (purchased 28 April 2018) – R1,308,861
• BMW 541i (purchased 11 August 2018) – R778,508
• Mercedes Benz (unspecified) (purchased 13 November 2013) – R958,101
• Mercedes Benz (unspecified) (purchased 13 November 2013) – R951,600
• Mercedes Benz (unspecified) (purchased 19 February 2015) – R878,701
• Audi Q7 TDI (purchased 17 January 2015) – R762,443