Ministerial car scandal can be easily resolved - statement by Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP (UDM President) (3 September 2009)

The continuing revelations about ministerial cars are an embarrassing situation for the ruling party who campaigned on a pro-poor ticket. The countless individual reasons that have been advanced for buying these expensive vehicles demonstrate that the system of ministerial perks and packages is flawed. For instance, it simply doesn’t make sense when a person claims they’re spending R1 million on a car for security reasons, but it isn’t even bulletproof. It is clear these vehicles are simply bought at the whim of individuals.

We call on Government to standardise the packages of Ministers, Premiers and MECs. The best system, as used all over the world, has been sidestepped by the South African ruling party because there are individuals among them who view high office as a personal jackpot.

The system that is used by responsible countries is to acquire a pool of state vehicles that are standardised. It also means that the state can make a bulk acquisition, which would enable it to get the vehicles at a discounted rate.

The vehicles must have a standardised colour scheme and bear the ministerial logo as well as the South African flag (like official vehicles in other countries). No elected official of the state should be shy of being seen in a car bearing the South African flag.

The state can allocate a state registration plate for these vehicles, such as RSA 1 for the President, RSA 2 for the Deputy President etc. Once the public can recognise these vehicles they would give way on the road, which would also reduce the abuse of the blue-light brigades.

The current system is being abused, with people buying fancy cars with taxpayer money as if these cars are theirs and then using state petrol cards to fuel them up. These cars are meant for government business, but are used for personal holidays or to go to party political rallies. If Ministers want fancy cars they must pay from their own pockets.