Friday, October 23, 2009

"Let them eat cake!" declares ANC elite

The tale of two lives in Africa's newest banana republic. How the well-heeled, well connected political elite live large off the hard-pressed South African taxpayer - and a woman and 23-month old baby caught for speeding thrown in jail for six hours. Why are taxpayers buying homes for public servants? Does your employer buy you a home?

Story 1: Baby dehydrates in police cell
- Beeld

Story 2: Police chief 'needs' luxury home

Pretoria -
The government is in the process of spending nearly R3.4m on a house in an upmarket Pretoria suburb for the national police chief, Commissioner Bheki Cele.

According to sources, several less luxurious official residences were available in Silverton, but these were not to Cele's liking.

The residence that did meet with his "requirements" and "security needs", is in Waterkloof Ridge. It cost R2.9m, but R3 374 092 has been approved, to cover the transfer and legal fees.

Deputy commissioner Hamilton Hlela wrote to the Department of Public Works on September 7, requesting that the purchase be finalised as quickly as possible and with "urgency". The department is responsible for the accommodation of officials, but according to the letter, the South African Police Service will pay for the house.

Entitled to accommodation

According to Hlela, Cele is entitled to accommodation in his capacity as a "deployed official at national level".

"Several attempts were made to procure an official residence but it was unsuccessful. To rent is also not cost efficient," stated the letter, which is in the possession of Beeld.

Suitable properties for the department to buy on behalf of the police were identified.

Beeld learned that the transaction was approved on October 7 and the money has already been made available.

An informed source said on Thursday that there were vacant official residences in Silverton. "But he (Cele) doesn't want to live there. He wants that place (in Waterkloof Ridge)."

Hlela on Thursday insisted that as far as he knew, no official residence was available. According to him, the house in Waterkloof Ridge in which Jackie Selebi lived, was the private property of the former police chief.

The police's accommodation policy put no limit on the amount that could be spent. "All that the policy states, is that accommodation should be provided to the national chief," said Hlela.

Commissioner Nonkululeko Mbatha, Cele's spokesperson, didn't want to comment. "I can't believe it. How do you know where his house is?"

Hotel accommodation

Meanwhile, Cabinet has found no fault with the extravagant five-star hotel expenses of the Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa.

Taxpayers have already shelled out R813 500 for him and his entourage to stay in two luxury hotels in Durban and Cape Town. He also spent R1.4m on two official cars.

According to government spokesperson Themba Maseko, Cabinet discussed the matter on Wednesday. He said it was "the media who misunderstand and wrongly interpret the requirements in the ministerial handbook".

The ministerial handbook placed no limits on expenses during official trips and during the execution of their duties.

"The handbook states they can stay in any hotel. The ministers' staff do the bookings and pay for it. It is not as if they handle it themselves. It is therefore clear that the ministers are keeping to the rules," he said. - Beeld

1 Opinion(s):

Viking said...

Of course. He is now the Chief and has to live in the biggest hut.
Oddly, he has no "security" concerns about living in Waterkloof Ridge - a huge target for criminals.