State blew R32 million on travel costs for ex-ministers and spouses

State blew R32 million on travel costs for ex-ministers and spouses

Over the course of the last five years, Parliament has spent over R32 million on travel privileges for ex-ministers, deputy-ministers and their partners. This trend is on the increase, growing from the financial year 2014/15 to 2018/19.

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While provisions are made for ministers and their deputies to take spouses on certain trips with them, the costs involved have almost doubled in recent times.

News24 reports that for the 2014/15 financial year, the bill had stood at R5.7 million, but for this financial year the cost shot up to R9.2 million.

The new ministerial handbook, which recently came into play, has made no changes to this parliamentary scheme.

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This sees ex-ministers enjoying 48 single domestic tickets per year, with spouses entitled to 24.

Former deputy-ministers are allowed 36 trips, in business class, with their spouses allowed to join them on 18.

Widows and widowers of former ministers and their deputies are allowed to take 12 single domestic flights every year.

Additionally, public office-bearers are allowed R100 000 worth of security measures for their private residences:

"Should the cost of the security measures be more than R100 000, the difference shall be borne by the public office bearer. The state’s contribution of R100 000 should be reviewed every five years to match the changing costs of security systems.”

Minister Senzo Mchunu, who was recently appointed as Public Service and Administration head, has called for the handbook to be taken seriously:

“We should migrate from referring to this as a guide and call it a rule so that there is strict compliance.”

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