Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza’s office has bought three luxury vehicles worth R5 million in one year for his use.
At least one of these was purchased barely a few weeks after finance minister Pravin Gordhan announced cost curtailment measures to curb government spending.
The vehicles include an Audi A8, a BMW X5 and the most recent acquisition, a 2013 Range Rover V85.0 S/C Petrol Autobiography, which was delivered last month.
The Range Rover costs R1 912 525.00 without extras, such as bulletproof windows and other security features.
Earlier last year, the office of the premier spent about R1 million to buy a BMW X5 for the premier’s use. That vehicle currently forms part of the premier’s convoy.
In the same period, the office bought an Audi A8 for the premier’s use. The cost of an Audi A8 starts from R1 million.
According to information seen by African Eye News Service, the Range Rover is the fourth official vehicle bought for the premier since his inauguration in 2009.
The first vehicle was a Lexus, which replaced a similar model which was used by former premier, Thabang Makwetla.
In terms of the Ministerial Handbook, premiers are allowed to change their vehicles after they reach 120 000 kilometres or after five years, whichever comes first, but the cost of the vehicle must not exceed 70% of the inclusive remuneration package of the premier.
According to Proclamation no 56 on the determination of the upper limit of salaries and allowances of premiers, members of the executive councils and members of provincial legislatures, which was signed by the president in 2012, the annual salary of a premier is currently R1,888,315.00, with effect from 1 April 2013.
This means that a premier is entitled to a vehicle that costs R1,321,820.00. This figure is far less than the entry level Range Rover TDV6 Vogue SE, which costs R1,501,678.
Mabuza’s spokesman, Zibonele Mncwango, failed to answer written questions sent to him on Tuesday to explain the reasons behind the purchase of all four cars for the premier’s use, and the fact that at least three of these were bought in one year.
“I will respond to the question in five minutes,” Mncwango said on Wednesday afternoon, and that was the last time he picked up his cellphone.
On Thursday he also failed to answer questions, but sent an SMS that he was in a meeting.
Mabuza is not the first premier to be involved in such controversy. Earlier this month, North West premier, Thandi Modise, was also in the spotlight over the purchase of a luxury vehicle at a cost of R1,3 million.
Earlier in the week, a confident Mabuza told a gathering of students and their parents that he was fit to lead Mpumalanga for another five years.