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Former ministers and their spouses continue to fly business class, costing taxpayers millions, according to a report by the Sunday Times.
The paper reported that as much as R45.3 million has been spent on travel for former ministers, deputies, premiers and their spouses between 2014 and 2020,
This includes apartheid-era ministers and those who left the executive in disgrace after enabling state capture or being fingered for other corrupt activities.
The paper reported that at least R10 million has been spent on flights in the last year alone, despite this excessive benefit having been removed from the ministerial handbook last year.
The information comes from a Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia) application from the DA to parliament, which highlights some of the top beneficiaries, including:
- Former finance minister Des van Rooyen – R224,000 in 2018/2019 and R17,000 in 2019/2020;
- Apartheid-era minister Adriaan Vlok – R59,000 in 2018/2019 and R46,000 in 2019/2020;
- Apartheid-era minister Roelf Meyer – R98,000 in 2018/2019) and (R126,000 in 2019/2020;
- Former finance minister Malusi Gigaba and his wife – R19,000 in 2018/2019 and R87,000 in 2019/2020 and R26,000 in 2018/2019 and R66,000 in 2019/2020;
- Former finance minister Trevor Manuel and his wife – R187,000 in 2018/2019 and R124,000 in 2019/2020 and R10,000 in 2018/2019 and R61,000 in 2019/2020.
In July 2019, the government published its revised guide for members of the executive, effectively replacing the controversial ministerial handbook introduced in 2007.
The updated guide covers everything from relocation expenses, to cars, with most of the new perks appearing to be largely the same or slightly reined in from the previous ministerial handbook.
This guide also describes the new powers given to finance minister Tito Mboweni to directly curb spending on transport and other luxuries.
However, ministers can also expect some increased benefits such as more staff members and an increased limit on home security.
Meanwhile South Africa fell deeper into junk status on Friday.
Moody’s cut South Africa’s foreign and local currency ratings to Ba2, which is two levels below investment grade, while Fitch cut the nation’s ratings to three levels below investment grade.
"The key driver behind the rating downgrade to Ba2 is the further expected weakening in South Africa’s fiscal strength over the medium term," said Moody’s in a statement.
"The pandemic has severely hit South Africa’s economic growth performance, and GDP is expected to remain below 2019 levels even in 2022," said Fitch.