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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
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Ministers' luxury cars spree slated

By Anna Majavu | Jul 23, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

The Congress of the People has called for the total overhaul in the way cabinet ministers purchase official luxury cars.

This was after yesterday's revelations that Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga bought a BMW 730D, and a Range Rover Sport TDV8 at a cost of R1,7million to the public purse.

The BMW was bought to replace a 2004 Mercedes Benz E320 which is not yet five years old.

The revelation, in reply to a parliamentary question, came hot on the heels of Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda's purchase of two new cars worth R2,4 million which sparked outrage from Cope and the Democratic Alliance.

Cope spokesperson Philip Dexter said ministers should not be allowed to buy 7 series BMWs or Range Rovers during the recession.

"Nobody is saying they must buy the cheapest car. But there are models of cars befitting the stature of ministers which are not over the top like these luxury cars," Dexter told Sowetan. "People who are losing their jobs during the recession need to see sensitivity from the government at this time."

Dexter said the government must overhaul the system so that it "negotiates discounts with manufacturers for a fleet of decent cars", which could be used by ministers.

Although Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan had preached austerity, he too had bought a new vehicle, his spokesperson Thoraya Pandy told Sowetan.

Pandy could not say what kind of vehicle Gordhan had bought or how much it cost.

DA's Juanita Klopper-Lourens said the public would have to cough up R60million if all government departments bought new cars for their new ministers.

Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven refused to comment and Motshekga's spokesperson, Dr Grenville Whittle, said he could not immediately comment.


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