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Con air: Former ministers and spouses continue to claim travel despite cuts in benefits – report




Former ministers and their spouses have claimed over R20 million in travel claims between April 2018 and March 2020.

PHOTO: Yunus Mohamed / Gallo Images

  • A PAIA application by DA has revealed that the former miners and their spouses claimed more than R20 million for family trips between April 2018 and March this year.
  • Travel benefits for former ministers and their spouses were removed from the ministers’ manual last year.
  • DA plans to challenge the payments, saying they could amount to irregular spending.

Despite a cut in benefits, the former ministers and their spouses claimed more than R20 million in travel claims between April 2018 and March 2020, according to a Sunday Times report.

Former ministers were once able to claim up to 48 domestic business class flights a year, but that benefit was removed from the ministers’ manual last year. A reduced benefit was available to deputy ministers and spouses of former ministers and deputy ministers.

Since this review in 2019, however, Parliament has spent almost R10 million on flights for former ministers and their spouses.

These include former National Party leader Marthinus van Schalkwyk, apartheid-era ministers Adriaan Vlok and Roelf Meyer, and the so-called “weekend special” Des van Rooyen, who served as notorious finance minister under former President Jacob Zuma for two day.

In a strongly worded statement Sunday, DA MP Leon Schreiber also named Malusi Gigaba, Tina Joematt-Pettersson, Faith Muthambi, Dina Pule, Dipuo Peters, Ben Martins, David Mahlobo and others.

The full list can be viewed here.

Parliament provided a detailed list of 200 former ministers, MPs and their spouses who submitted travel applications between April 2018 and March this year, following an application of the Access to Information Promotion Act (PAIA) by the DA.

The ministerial manual was reviewed by Minister of Public Service and Administration Senzo Mchunu in November last year. Mchunu spokesman Kamogelo Mogotsi reportedly confirmed that free flights for former executive members had been removed from the manual.

‘Immoral, corrupt and loss of money’

Parliament spokesman Moloto Mothapo told the Sunday Times that the legislature had budgeted for flights for former executive members and their spouses. Mothapo added that Parliament was drafting an amended policy that would make changes to the disputed benefit.

Schreiber fought for a year to get the sums from Parliament, according to Rapport.

He described “luxury flights” as “immoral, corrupt and a waste of money at a time when more and more South Africans are mired in poverty”.

He also questioned their legitimacy.

He said:

Not only is Parliament obliged to pay for former members of the Cabinet, but this agreement also violates the principle of separation of powers between the legislature and the executive. Apart from the textbook of the ministries, there is no law that approves this waste.

Schreiber wrote to the newly appointed Auditor General (AG) Tsakani Maluleke, asking him to investigate whether Parliament’s payment for the flights was an irregular expenditure.

“If the Auditor General concludes that this really amounts to irregular spending, I have asked the AG to take appropriate corrective action to force Parliament to repeal this provision completely and recover tens of millions of lost rand. to the state over the past 26 years, “Schreiber said Sunday.

The AG office has confirmed that the claim is being reviewed.

– Compiled by Nicole McCain

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