Home › Forums › South Africa Today Headline News › Why South African ministers get limitless free electricity and water-MUST BE NICE!!!!
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2022-10-16 at 17:31 #2671Nat QuinnKeymaster
South African ministers get free electricity and water because they have poor job security and have to pay expensive medical aid contributions.
That is according to the minister in the presidency, Mondli Gungubele, who was recently interviewed by SAfm over a controversial amendment to the ministerial handbook reported by Rapport and City Press last week.
The change saw President Cyril Ramaphosa quietly scrapping a R5,000 municipal rate spending limit imposed on cabinet ministers and their deputies at their official residences.
From April 2022, the Department of Public Works has been responsible for carrying the entire cost of electricity and water supplied to these premises.
Taxpayers are now footing ministers’ whole utility bills, where they previously only paid up to R5,000 per minister per month.
That is despite cabinet ministers currently earning a monthly salary of around R200,000.
In Gungubele’s defence of the change, he told SAfm’s Stephen Grootes that a minister could lose their job at any moment.
Notably, unlike his predecessor Jacob Zuma, Ramaphosa has only once performed a major cabinet reshuffle since becoming president in 2018.
Even then, he only axed one minister while moving several others to different portfolios.
Gungubele also argued ministers had to be available 24/7 and implied this influenced their medical aid contributions.
Grootes then asked the minister if he should not be making use of public healthcare instead, to which the minister giggled.
The entire interview with the minister is embedded below.
Following the backlash over the change, the Democratic Alliance (DA) laid a complaint with the Public Protector, calling for the complete abolition of the handbook.
The DA believes the handbook gave the president “dictatorial” powers to force taxpayers to pay for the perks of cabinet members.
“Forcing South Africans to pay the private electricity and water bills for the very same ministers who have robbed citizens of access to these critical services is a slap in the face that the people will not accept,” said DA MP Leon Schreiber.
According to Schreiber, the party’s research has determined there was no legal basis for the handbook, formally titled “Guide for Members of the Executive”.
Schreiber said although it required that members ensure compliance with the Executive Ethics Code, there was no provision in the code, or any other law, allowing for the existence of the handbook.
“The handbook, therefore, appears to exist ‘ultra vires’ — outside of the Constitution and the law,” Schreiber said.
“It is for this reason that the president was able to secretly amend the handbook in April to allow these new perks without even bothering to inform Parliament.”
“In fact, because there is no law at all governing the existence of the handbook, Parliament has no authority to exercise oversight or approve the contents of the handbook.”
Leon Schreiber, Democratic Alliance MP
Schreiber said this meant the president was completely unaccountable for how he “forced taxpayers to fund the ANC gravy train”.
“Instead of a Handbook that gives Ramaphosa unfettered powers to abuse taxpayers, the DA believes Parliament should be the one to decide on cases where certain benefits, such as security measures or transport for official duties, may be warranted,” Schreiber stated.
“Should the Public Protector confirm that the ministerial handbook is indeed unlawful in its entirety, it would mean that Ramaphosa and all of his ANC predecessors have for decades illegally taken hundreds of millions of rands from taxpayers in order to fund the luxury lifestyles of multi-millionaire cadres.”
The free municipal rates are not the only benefits prescribed by the handbook.
It also allows ministers to buy a tax-funded vehicle for official duties with a price tag of up to R800,000.
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