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On Monday, the government of South Africa agreed to an amended ministerial handbook which cuts unnecessary expenditure by those in cabinet and other public servant positions.
The handbook will now force those in public office to adhere to strict cost-cutting measures when travelling and communicating, or when upgrading their personal residences in South Africa.
Fewer flights, cheaper cars
Ministers can now only purchase vehicles up to R700 000 including VAT, maintenance and security additions.
Earlier this year, a report revealed that a number of ministers are enjoying vehicles valued in excess of R900 000.
Air travel is limited to economy class for domestic flights, and economy for all international flights under two hours long.
Personal domestic flight allowances has also been cut from 30 per year to 20.
A cut in smartphone expenditure
South Africa’s ministers will be limited to R60 000 per year expenditure on renting smartphones. This number also covers official call costs.
Minister’s residential privileges have also been cut.
“Staff in support of a member’s office, excluding household aides, has been reduced,” said Senzo Mchunu, the minister of Public Service and Administration.
“Ministers’ support has been reduced from 13 to seven, Deputy Ministers’ from nine to five, Premiers’ from 12 to seven and MECs’ from 12 to five.”
Security upgrades to households will also not be covered.
“In respect of water and electricity, the State’s contribution will be limited to R5000 per month, per state-owned residence. No contribution will be made in respect of private residences,” added Mchunu.
‘The government really takes us for fools’
Some didn’t welcome the changes.
The DA’s Leon Schreib bemoaned the fact that “ministerial jaunts to New York, Geneva and London will all remain business class”.
In other words: ministerial jaunts to New York, Geneva and London will all remain business class. How many international flights are shorter than 2 hours? This government really takes us for fools. https://t.co/HWEYRZz1wf
— Leon Schreiber (@Leon_Schreib) December 9, 2019
Some also felt that R700 000 is still far too much for a vehicle.
#MinisterialHandBook 700k is way too much reduce dat to 300k or evn better they are a working class are they not?…let them buy their own cars….being voted in as a public servant should not b a ticket to luxurious living….
— Biggie (@Al_U17) December 9, 2019
— warren manning (@IzweWarren) December 9, 2019
The new guidelines will affect mayors, executive committees, directors general and those in state-owned enterprises.
Feature image: etereuti via Pixabay