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    Here’s how much SA’s been forking out on generators, inverters for ‘rock star’ ministers

    March 27, 2023 - Molefe Seeletsa


      As the country continues to experience load shedding, at least R7 million has been spent on alternative power supply for ministers' official residencies since June 2019.

      This was revealed by new Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Sihle Zikalala in response to written questions by Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Leon Schreiber.

      All ministers and their deputies have two official home in Pretoria, Gauteng and Cape Town, Western Cape.

      Alternative power, water supply

      In a cost breakdown, Zikalala confirmed that his department has spent just over R18.3 million on electricity alone for minister and their deputies' homes in Cape Town, while R7.4 million has been forked out for water.

      No money was spent on alternative power supply - which include generators, inverters and solar - and water supply solutions such as water reticulation and purification for ministerial homes in Cape Town, in addition to security upgrades.

      With respect to their official residencies in Pretoria, however, just over R22 million in public funds has paid the ministers' electricity and water bills.

      READ MOREGwen Ngwenya leaves DA again as party finalises work for federal congress

      The Public Works Department has further spent R7 million on procuring and installing alternative power supply systems for the Pretoria houses.

      Both ministers and their deputies have not received any alternative water supply system in the country's capital city as well.

      Regarding security upgrades, the money spent amounted to R1,3 million for ministers and R2 million for deputy ministers.

      According to the Ministerial Handbook, the ministers are capped at R5,000 per month for each house, and have to pay any amount exceeding that in their personal capacity.

      President Cyril Ramaphosa last year scrapped the limit, which would have seen ministers receive electricity and water for free.

      He later reversed his decision after the public expressed outrage at the politicians being exempt from paying for municipal services.

      'Rock stars'

      Earlier this month, Ramaphosa denied that his ministers were "living like rock stars" as suggested by the DA.

      The DA recently took to the streets in protest against the Ministerial Handbook.

      Members of the party marched to the lavish Bryntirion Estate in Arcadia, Pretoria, where ministers reside.

      According to Schreiber, the DA has asked the Public Protector's office to investigate whether the perks received by Cabinet ministers were legal.

      "We have laid a complaint with the Public Protector to investigate the fact that we don't find any law that authorises the president to do this. That was something that was submitted in October last year.

      "It is still being considered by the Public Protector, but we don't know when that will be finalised and it doesn't seem to be getting any urgency," Schreiber told The Citizen on 13 March.

      NOW READ: Ramaphosa denies his ministers live like rock stars, says Cabinet not bloated


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