Government refutes car rental misuse claims

Pretoria – Government has rejected claims that members of Cabinet were misusing public funds while renting vehicles to carry out the work of government.

“Policy provides that members at a national level may be provided with one vehicle for use in Cape Town and one vehicle for use in Pretoria. It further provides for use of incidental vehicles for official purposes away from respected seats of office,” said acting Government Communications (GCIS) CEO Phumla Williams.

Williams was reacting to media reports that ministers spent R5.18 million on hired cars to travel 368 000km. All Cabinet ministers were asked a parliamentary question to provide expenditure details in this regard.

Williams said: “The executive’s role and duties take place throughout the country, not only in Cape Town and Pretoria. Members may make use of incidental or rented vehicles when on official duty.”

She said the use of vehicles was not for private purposes but for official government business that enabled ministers to work on government programmes.

Hired cars were used on official duty for direct interaction with communities and stakeholders outside Gauteng and Cape Town, as a critical part of the public participation programmes of ministers, Williams said.

These enabled ministers to fulfil their duties.

Williams explained that expenditure by government goes through strict processes.

“Parliament annually approves the budgets of government departments… This expenditure is also audited by the Auditor General annually. There have been no findings of irregular or wasteful expenditure related to any ministers’ hiring of vehicles to carry out official duties across the country.”

Williams noted that figures of expenditure released to the public through parliamentary replies was done “in the spirit of transparency and accountability” to the South African public.

“Attempts to misrepresent expenditure by the executive in the public domain as ‘misuse of public funds’ are misleading, as there are no factual grounds for these untested claims.” –

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My ethos is espoused in the words of Nelson Mandela: “I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the idea of a democratic and free society. If need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

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