The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Monday picketed outside the Bryntirion estate, where the country’s ministers and deputy ministers live, and said it wants to introduce a bill to Parliament to cut the perks enjoyed by those in Cabinet.
DA wants oversight on government perks
Speaking outside the estate, DA leader John Steenhuisen said his party wants to take action against the luxury lifestyles experienced by South Africa’s ministers.
“These ministers live in a different world. This estate behind me has a golf course, 15 tennis courts, swimming pools, a basketball court and manicured lawns. Completely out of touch of the reality of life and it’s protected by Saps, so it’s little wonder the president and his Cabinet don’t take crime seriously,” said Steenhuisen.
Watch: DA leader John Steenhuisen at the DA picket outside Bryntirion estate
The DA leader said his party wants to see more oversight and transparency with the Ministerial Handbook. To do this, the DA will introduce a “cut the Cabinets perks bill” to reduce the benefits the ministers and deputy ministers currently have.
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Steenhuisen used the example of Ramaphosa’s amendment to the Ministerial Handbook last year, that allowed ministers and deputy ministers to not pay anything for municipal services such as water and electricity.
“That cannot be right. That needs to be brought to Parliament and there needs to be proper oversight of these particular benefits so we can ensure there is transparency and accountability,” he said.
‘It is grotesque’
The DA leader added that South Africa’s leaders are out of touch with the struggles faced by most South Africans.
“It is grotesque that in a country with 42% unemployment [and] 32 million that live in poverty that we have ministers living it up like rockstars in Cabinet world, far removed from the real world.”
The DA also claimed that while South Africans and businesses suffer load shedding daily, the government spent R2.6 million to install generators for Cabinet ministers.
ALSO READ: DA to picket against ‘rockstar ministers’ at Bryntirion estate in Tshwane
Public Protector investigation
The DA’s shadow minister for the Public Service and Administration Leon Schreiber earlier on Monday said the DA will also be asking acting Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka to speed up her office’s investigation into the Ministerial Handbook guidelines.
“This is a key aspect of our campaign. 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,” he said.
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 said.
Additional reporting by Faizel Patel