Rand hit new all-time low COVID-19

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Here’s what you cough up for ministerial luxuries – despite cuts

South African taxpayers will be paying a bit less for ministerial luxuries in future, but have no fear, cabinet members are still living high on the hog at our expense.

Rand hit new all-time low COVID-19

Photo: Adobe Stock

At a briefing on Monday afternoon, Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu told the parliamentary press corps that austerity measures had been implemented for members of cabinet, in the interest of fiscal prudence.

Have a look at new ‘austerity measures’ for cabinet

The cost of official vehicles will in future be capped at R700 000, inclusive of VAT, maintenance plans and security extras.

Ministers and their spouses travelling by air transport must travel in economy class for all officiaal domestic travel as well as for international travel where the travel time is less than two hours.

The state will in future not bear any cost in respect of security upgrades done at any minister’s private residence.

The rental for cellular phones, as well as the cost of official calls, is capped at R60 000 per year.

Support staff in the offices of executive political office bearers are reduced from 13 to seven for a minister; from nine to five for a deputy minister; from 12 to seven for a premier and from 12 to five for a provincial MEC.

As far as official residences go, the state’s contribution will in future be limited to R5 000 per month for water and electricity. The state will not contribute to any costs incurred at ministers’ private residences.

In addition, no cleaning materials, equipment or chemicals will henceforth be provided to residences. Ministers will be responsible for all costs related to domestic workers in their employ.

Cutting wings of travel

Travel by ministerial spouses will in future be limited to six domestic economy class trips per financial year if the minister is required to attend official duties  accompanied by a spouse or adult family member.

Additional flight tickets for private ministerial use is reduced from 30 to 20 single economy tickets per year for use by the minister or his/her spouse.

The taxpayer will no longer be liable for the cost of gratuities or reading matter for the minister or his/her spouse.

The continued benefits for ministers who resign or are fired, are reduced from three months to one month.

In future, a minister will only be allowed to occupy a single official residence (either in Cape Town or Pretoria) free of charge. Where a minister occupies more than one official residence (for instance in another city) he/she will be required to pay a rental and will be personally responsible for the related tax implication.

Public sector to follow

Mchunu said it is envisaged that similar changes will take place to cut these costs in the public sector for instance in the cases of mayors, MECs, premiers and directors-general.

Mchunu ducked and dived questions on whether ministerial official residences were affected by load shedding, despite being asked about it point blank several times.