FINANCE Minister Pravin Gordhan has announced severe cuts to office bearers’ perks across all spheres of government as well as for executives of state-owned enterprises.
A Treasury official confirmed that the cost-cutting was approved by the Cabinet‚ the government’s highest decision-making body‚ on Wednesday‚ just hours before Mr Gordhan was to present his medium-term budget policy statement to both houses of Parliament.
The cost-cutting measures have been made with just more than seven months to go until the next national and provincial elections.
President Jacob Zuma’s administration took power in 2009 just as South Africa was feeling the effects of a severe global recession‚ and immediately came under heavy criticism for conspicuous consumption on the part of a number of current and former ministers.
Mr Gordhan announced at Wednesday’s media briefing that the cost-cutting measures would come into effect by December 1.
He said these measures would affect officials including members of the national executive‚ provincial governments and local municipalities.
The cost of cars is to be standardised‚ although the brands could be selected‚ and Mr Gordhan said the maximum amount would be the equivalent of a BMW 530 saloon.
He also said the government would consider bulk buying of cars‚ although security features would be considered.
Office bearers would no longer be allowed to claim for using their personal cars for official business.
International flights would be limited to taking business class‚ with first-class travel banned.
The number of ministers’ assistants who accompany them on a trip would be limited to two‚ and the size of delegations would also be limited.
The shortest routes would be mandatory for travelling to a destination.
Ministers would be accommodated in self-catering apartments and not hotels when waiting for their official houses.
Even more bad news for many government office bearers is that the Cabinet has imposed an immediate ban on the serving of alcohol at most official functions‚ while official credit cards are to be withdrawn. © BDlive 2013