R750-million spending spree on “frills” for ministers’ houses and state buildings

The Sunday Times reported that the government is planning to spend R750 million to “spruce up” ministerial houses and other government buildings.

According to the report, Public works minister Thulas Nexi revealed the plan, which includes:

  • R5 million for new carpets for the Union buildings.
  • R1 million for alterations to a kitchen and bathroom in a ministerial home.
  • R29 million on gates and a dog house.

Public works was asked for comment regarding the ‘spending spree’, but its spokesperson did not reply by the time of publication.

Tough economic times, but the spending continues

This announcement follows news that the South African Revenue Service (SARS) will have a revenue collection shortfall of approximately R14.6 billion for the 2018/19 financial year.

This makes it the fifth consecutive year that the organisation has missed its collection targets.

In these tough economic times, and with the country’s growing unemployment epidemic, one would expect the state to tighten its belt on non-core expenses.

This is, however, not the case as is shown by the government’s continued splurging on luxury vehicles for ministers.

The government spent R42 million on luxury vehicles for ministers and their deputies between 2014 and 2017.

New rules to stop South African politicians from splurging

The government plans to revise the current ministerial handbook to curb wasteful expenditure.

Public service and administration minister Ayanda Dlodlo said the revised rules will bar ministers from flying first class and taking their spouses on unlimited international trips.

She added that cabinet ministers and their deputies will no longer be allowed to splurge on luxury cars such as Porsches and Mercedes-Benz S-class’.

The planned rules will put National Treasury in charge of buying vehicles for all ministers, their deputies, MECs, and provincial premiers.

Now read: SARS IT head wants to go back to work

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R750-million spending spree on “frills” for ministers’ houses and state buildings