Premiers’ appetite for expensive vehicles confirmed

Anthony Benadie MPL

DA Provincial Leader and Spokesperson Finance, Economic Development and Tourism

Premier David Mabuza’s appetite for expensive luxury vehicles has been confirmed in a written reply to a DA question, having spent R6.2 million on luxury vehicles in the past five years.

In March 2014 the DA requested the Public Protector to investigate after it came to light that Mabuza had spent over R5 million on his official vehicles.  Furthermore, the DA submitted written questions to all departments requesting a detailed breakdown of vehicles purchased over a 5 year period.

On comparing the reply from the Office of the Premier to that of the Department of Public Works, who manages the assets register, it has come to light that the Premier himself is conveniently failing to mention the purchase of a 6th vehicle in September 2013, valued at over 1 million rand. This poor attempt at concealing the facts creates the impression that the Premier himself feels he needs to hide his penchant for purchasing expensive luxury vehicles. (Click here to compare the responses)

According to the Ministerial handbook, premiers are allowed to change their vehicles after 120 000km or five years, whichever comes first.  The cost must not exceed 70% of their remuneration package.    The Premiers’ salary as of 1 April 2013 (The last relevant increase in relation to the purchase of the vehicles) was R1 888 315.  This in turn means a premier may purchase a vehicle costing up to R1 321 820.

The final vehicle purchased (the one the Premier conveniently omitted from his response), was a Range Rover 3.7 valued at R1 371 000, which was purchased in September 2013, a mere four months after the purchase of an Audi A8.  The purchase of this vehicle was in total contravention of the timeframe as well as the costing as determined by the Ministerial handbook.

Furthermore, according to reports in the media, Mabuza’s spokesperson misled the public into believing that he had not purchased a vehicle during his first two years in office.  The response from his office shows that he not only purchased a BMW X5 less than a year since he took office, but followed up shortly with a Lexus during his second year.

Whilst addressing the public on the issue of Mabuza’s penchant for luxury vehicles, the spokesperson for the Office of the Premier once again “forgot” to mention that the Premier purchased a Range Rover in October 2011.  This once again points to their determination to mislead residents and conceal corruption within their ranks.

Taking the above into consideration, the DA will write to the Speaker, Hon BT Shongwe to investigate the replies to our questions as issued by the Office of the Premier.  Furthermore, the DA will once again write to the Public Protector requesting an update on the investigation into the violation of the Ministerial Handbook.

Mabuza’s vehicle appetite flies in the face of the ANC’s political rhetoric that it is a party that cares for the poor, and certainly is not in line with the ANC claim of ‘tightening the belt’ and reducing indulgent spending. While community after community face poor service delivery, often as a result of ‘budgetary constraints’, it is clear that these constraints don’t apply to Premier Mabuza. The DA will not rest until Mabuza is held accountable.