Government spends millions on cars

STATISTICS South Africa has spent R346million on hired cars since 2005 and a tenth of that on repairing them.

National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel said in a written response to a question from the DA that StatsSA had stopped hiring cars and switched to using cars from the government garage in June.

Until then the office that collates and tracks statistics about South African society, employment and spending, used only rented cars.

The bill rocketed from R15,2million in 2005 to R144million in the year to March. Last year's bill would have bought 1000 mid-range saloon cars outright.

The cost of damages and repairs rose from 6,26% of the rental cost in 2005 to 11% last year.

"It is an inherent risk of the department, which is exacerbated by the fact that Stats SA employs contract staff on a month to six-month basis, to sustain damages to vehicles and it cannot be completely avoided," Manuel said.

The Stats SA figures come in the wake of the revelation in answers to a series of questions that ministers have spent close to R50million on cars since the new government was formed