Our first zero for the year is North West premier Thandi Modise, whose purchase of a R1.3-million luxury car has outraged citizens.
In October 2013 finance minister Pravin Gordhan announced a range of measures aimed at curbing excessive public spending – the buying of cars was included in his anti-spending strategy.
Modise bought a swanky new BMW 750i, but officials in her office have defended the acquisition, saying that the car had been on order long before Gordhan’s austerity measures came into play. They have also said that the purchase complies with a rule in the ministerial handbook which states that the value of a car may not exceed 70% of the premier’s annual salary.
The North West provincial legislature has issued a statement saying that its standing committee on provincial public accounts (Scopa) has “resolved to establish a sub committee to investigate procurement processes followed”.
The committee will investigate when the purchase order was placed and when the vehicle was delivered, and will interview all people involved in the procurement process.
It will report back to Scopa within two weeks.
“We fully condemn the amount spent on purchasing this vehicle, as currently the economy is under pressure. We are aware that there is still a need to standardise the cost containment prescribed in the Ministerial Handbook, but that should not constitute for the reckless spending used by the Executive,” said the committee.