In the wake of the spending that followed Zuma’s inauguration as president for a second term last week, several ministers and deputy ministers are expected to go on a buying spree for luxury cars, including top of the range Mercedes-Benzes and BMWs, all at public expense.
With 35 ministers and 37 deputy ministers salaries to pay, Zuma’s government is also set to cost taxpayers quite a bit.
Opposition parties said it was outrageous for ministers and deputy ministers to buy luxury cars. DA transport spokesperson Ian Ollis said over 140 new luxury cars will be purchased for the new Cabinet.
“This is a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money,” Ollis said. “I have in the past shown how excessive spending by ministers is on new cars. Even deputy ministers are entitled to purchase two luxury cars.”
He called on them to take over the cars of former ministers to avoid wasting money in tough economic times.
DA leader and Western Cape premier Helen Zille asked why new ministers and deputy ministers can’t use the cars used by their predecessors. Economic Freedom Fighters spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi also said ministers and their deputies should not buy new cars.
“They must use their own cars,” he said. “We warned that this government is an employment-making scheme to accommodate people who are protecting Zuma’s shenanigans. An average of R10 billion will be spent every year for their security, staff and houses in Cape Town and Pretoria.”
According to the latest ministerial handbook, members at national level may be provided with one vehicle for use in Cape Town and one vehicle for use in Pretoria. The cost of the vehicle may not exceed 70% of the inclusive annual remuneration package.
Presenting his medium-term budget policy statement in Parliament last year, then finance minister Pravin Gordhan said Cabinet had agreed to strict austerity measures from December, including standardising the cars to be bought by ministers and deputies.