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'Health MEC getting R900k car' DA

Dec 6, 2018
'Health MEC getting R900k car' DA

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape on Thursday claimed that the MEC for Health has been gifted a brand-new car - costing just under a million rand as part of the Eastern Cape Adjustment Budget passed in the Legislature.

"Part of the adjustments for the Department of Health includes R901,000 for a new vehicle for the MEC, whereas we can only afford to spend R325,000 on wheelchairs, hearing aids, and orthotics," said Bobby Stevenson (MPL), DA Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Finance.

SEE Extract from Provincial Treasury Adjustment Estimates Report

"This lavish expenditure highlights how out of touch the collapsing Health Department is with reality. We condemn it in the strongest terms.

"Also, once a new MEC comes in after an election, that MEC is entitled to a new vehicle, so spending R901 000 now is a total waste of money and we cannot support it," Stevenson said.

"The question that needs to be asked is ‘what has happened to the fiscal consolidation strategy of the Minister of Finance?’ Buying a vehicle at this price is giving the middle finger to fiscal austerity."

He further said that there is no doubt that this province has "now become extremely cash-strapped".

'Health MEC should be setting an example'

"The departments requested an additional R4,076 billion in the adjustment budget, but only received R675 million. Health requested R1,8 billion, and received R325,9 million, Education requested R1,247 billion and received R126 million.

"When it comes to belt tightening, the provincial government’s belt is still too loose. In the last financial year this province spent at least R1,4 billion on non-core business, including catering R101,5 million, consultants R565 million, and transport and accommodation R792 million. One would have expected the MEC to announce bigger cuts than the R45 million he mentioned," Stevenson added.

"In many countries overseas, they have what is called ‘care taker policies’, that come into play six months before an election. This means no new vehicles, buildings, rentals, contracts, and political advertising.

"No one begrudges the MEC for Health having a safe and decent vehicle to ride around in, but given the cash crisis around Health, the MEC should be setting an example.

"Corruption in the Eastern Cape is undermining service delivery. The Auditor General has indicated that irregular expenditure, that the province still needs to deal with, is up to R5,26 billion. This could grow by a further R1,73 billion which is currently under investigation."

He said that the Democratic Alliance was not supporting the adjustment budget in principle.

'Figures are for vehicle bought last year'

Asked for comment, Eastern Cape Provincial Health spokesman, Lwandile Sicwetsha, said that figures were actually for a purchase made last year.

"The figures are for the vehicle purchased for the previous MEC last year," he explained.

"The invoice was submitted early this year, hence payment was made this year."

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