27 March 2017
Ministerial government vehicles purchase aligned to rules
Government has noted media reports about the purchasing of vehicles for Ministers and their deputies which creates a perception that government is wasteful, despite government’s efforts on various occasions to put the expenditure on road transport into perspective.
However, the wheels24 article has once again provided a dishonest narrative and misrepresents government’s position. The purchase of these vehicles does not constitute fruitless and wasteful expenditure. If this was the case, such procurement would have been flagged by the Auditor-General during departmental audits.
Acting GCIS Director-General, Donald Liphoko, said: “The media coverage on this matter is patently misleading, as it seeks to uncouple the creditable public engagement work of the Executive in communities by juxtaposing it dishonestly on money spent on efficient modes of transportation. Government has stated repeatedly that motor vehicles are amongst the tools that enable Ministers to efficiently and effectively execute their duties”.
It is equally surprising that a motoring journalist would not consider that a portion of these motor vehicles were at the end of their life cycle and would have been replaced in the period 2014 to 2017 resulting in additional costs, or that the vehicles in the list indeed have off-road capability – a prerequisite to traverse the 75 500 kilometers of South African Road Network.
In the last six months Ministers and Deputy Ministers have undertaken 808 public participation events which saw them visiting all the nine provinces of South Africa. This critical outreach to the country’s rural population which was last measured at 19.3 million in 2015, according to the World Bank, is essential in ensuring inclusivity, social cohesion and oversight of government work intended to uplift all our citizens. It goes without saying that road transport remains the most efficient mode to conduct this work.
In each documented instance, government purchased vehicles are procured within the prescripts by the National Treasury and that the rules concerning vehicle fleet replacement are also clearly stipulated in the Ministerial Handbook.
Departments may purchase official vehicle/s directly from manufacturers and/or their dealerships only when the currently provided official vehicle for that office has reached 120 000 km or 5 years, whichever comes first.
The Ministerial Handbook clearly states in Chapter 5 No 1.2.1: Members at national level may be provided with one vehicle for use in Cape Town and one vehicle for use in Pretoria. The total purchase price of the vehicle may not exceed 70% of the inclusive annual remuneration package of a Minister as may be amended from time to time on recommendation of the Commission for the Remuneration of Political Members.
Liphoko added: “In an environment of fake news, the media and political parties are urged to refrain from purposefully misleading the public through deliberately sensationalising issues that ultimately undermine the social contract of government as a public institution serving the good of all citizens”.
All Government purchases and use of state vehicles including those procured for the Executive, are accounted for transparently through the tabling of parliamentary responses to members questions and through departmental Annual Reports which contain audited financial statements verified by the office of the Accountant General. It would be useful to the public if all the above facts and figures are reported and the context is provided objectively.
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Issued by Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)