Few days after the presidency insisted on purchasing a new air craft to transport South Africa’s VVIPs, including President Jacob Zuma and his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa, the police department revealed that TEN new cars worth a total of about R9m were bought for President Jacob Zuma’s wives from the budget meant for the department.
Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko who was replying a parliamentary question by DA MP Zakhele Mbhele, said the budget mapped out for the police department between 2013 and 2016 were diverted to the purchase of new cars for President Zuma’s wives.
The minister said the purchases were necessary to provide adequate protection of President Zuma’s wives. Cars purchased according to BDlive, include Range Rover SUVs, two Land Rover Discovery SUVs and five Audi SUVs and sedans.
The purchase of luxury cars for Cabinet ministers themselves has been kicked at by the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who has appealed for modest purchases as part of a general belt tightening required by government in order for it to achieve its fiscal consolidation targets.
The continued purchase of these luxury cars has been possible because of a delay of over five years in finalizing the ministerial handbook, which lays down what ministers are allowed in terms of vehicles, travel and accommodation.
Few days back, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula confirmed the purchase of a jet for the president and his deputy which would cost about R4 billion.
The minister stressed that the acquisition of aircraft for the president and deputy president was urgent as both the presidential jet, Inkwazi, and the plane transporting Ramaphosa had run into technical problems several times, endangering their lives.
“We have a responsibility to do it. It has to be done,” said Mapisa-Nqakula as she explained that this would cost the country less compared to the amount that would be spent on chartering. “Whenever there is a problem, we have to charter an aircraft for the president and deputy president.”
The continuous spending by the presidency has been seriously frowned at by citizens considering the deepening economic woes of the country alongside the other issues including the increasing unemployment rate. Despite all these, the defence minister explained that these are part of the must needed things for SA first citizens.
According to report, the specifications for the jet include a “private bedroom suite, a bathroom, and a conference room for eight people”. It would also be able to carry at least 30 passengers and have a range of 13,800km.