The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes with concern the reply received recently from the Ministry of Local Government and Traditional Affairs regarding ministerial car hire expenditure. The reply discloses only the expenditure incurred by Deputy Minister Yunus Carrim. Figures for Minister Sicelo Shiceka were not supplied, on the grounds of the Minister’s absence due to illness. This response is deeply disingenuous, as the information requested by the DA would be held by the Minister’s office, and should therefore be publicly accessible. In addition, thirteen other replies were received on the same day from the Local Government and Traditional Affairs Ministry. In each case, the information requested was supplied, and the matter of the Minister’s absence appeared to have no impact on the ability of the Ministry to respond to the question. This state of affairs can only lead one to believe that the Minister’s absence is being used as a guise to conceal information from the public – not unlikely, given Minister Shiceka’s history of incurring excessive expenditure at the state’s cost.
The information received concerning the Deputy Minister’s expenditure on car rental correlates with the trend that has emerged from other replies received on this issue by the DA thus far. The Deputy Minister indicated that he has hired cars on 41 occasions in the past year, costing the state R190 593.
The total cost of ministerial car hire revealed by the responses the DA has received thus far now stands at R1 367 052.
In response to the failure of the Ministry of Local Government and Traditional Affairs to supply the information requested, the DA will be submitting follow-up questions to determine why this question only was affected by the Minister’s absence, and to request that the details of Minister Shiceka’s car hire bill be supplied as a matter of urgency. The DA will also be alerting Deputy President Motlanthe, in his capacity as Leader of Government Business, to this situation, and to the fact that the majority of ministries have yet to reply to questions submitted by the DA regarding expenditure on car hire.