Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, made firm restrictions on Wednesday, during his second medium-term budget speech, and the Ministerial Handbook received updates, with the first-ever cuts to ministerial perks, meaning cabinet members will have to fund their own luxury lifestyles.
DA urges “Cabinet fat cats” to live as humble public servants
The cabinet, premiers and MECs’ salaries would be frozen at current levels, with the likelihood of an adjustment downwards, and the Democratic Alliance (DA) has emphasised that the wasteful expenditure on luxury lifestyles has explicitly spent taxpayers’ money, and the party has been advocating for an updated Ministerial Handbook with less wastage to ensure “Cabinet fat cats” live as humble public servants.
“Being a minister is not an award for long-service, it is a critical role serving the people by steering South Africa through turbulent times. Although it took a decade, it appears that Minister Mboweni has finally started to agree with us. But this only happened after the DA put up a sustained fight against any attempt to hoodwink the people of South Africa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa initially introduced a new Ministerial Handbook on 8 June 2019. Despite his promises that the Handbook would cut back significantly on wastage, this initial version contained even more freebies for Cabinet fat cats. It is only after the DA raised the alarm that the government admitted that this “old-new” Handbook was a complete farce.”
The party details it has been advocating for these changes since 2007 and stipulates it is because of their ‘uncompromising fight’ to stop wastage, that has now resulted in a second revision of the Handbook in the space of four months.
The DA further express that the government is yet to supply them with a full copy of the Handbook, however, the Finance Minister announced the initial steps in his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement:
- The salaries of cabinet members, premiers and MECs will be frozen for the foreseeable future, with the likelihood of an adjustment downwards;
- The cost of official cars will be capped at R700 000, inclusive of VAT;
- All domestic travel will be in economy class;
- There will no longer be paid for subsistence and travel for both domestic and international trips; and
- A new cell phone dispensation will cap the amount claimable from the state.
“We are further worried that the Minister was completely silent about other perks, like the fact that Ministers can employ an outrageous 15 staff members in their private offices and that former Ministers are entitled to free business class flights for life after their retirement.
We now eagerly await the Department of Public Service and Administration complying with our PAIA request to obtain a full copy of the Ministerial Handbook. Once we receive it, we will study the Handbook in detail to confirm whether it indeed lives up to the tentative promises made by Minister Mboweni.”