The office of the North West premier on Monday defended the acquisition of a new BMW 750i costing more than a million rand.

Spokesman Lesiba Kgwele said: “The vehicle purchased for Thandi Modise was not acquired in defiance to a Cabinet directive.”

Media reports suggesting the purchase was a snub at finance minister Pravin Godhan's call for cost cutting were disingenuous, he said.

Modise's office said the allegations were absurd and malicious because the vehicle was already on order when the finance minister announced austerity plans in his the mid-term budget speech.

CONSTANT MECHANICAL BREAKDOWNS

Kgwele said: “The decision to purchase the BMW 750i that cost R1.3 million was taken by the provincial department of public works, roads and transport and was below the 70 percent limit prescribed by the ministerial handbook.”

He added that the official vehicle used by Modise's predecessor had exceeded the maximum 120,000km it was allowed to cover and experienced constant mechanical breakdowns that compromised the premier's security.

The Sunday Times reported that transport MEC Raymond Elisha had confirmed the purchase but maintained no laws were broken.

Modise was quoted as saying: “I do not determine whether a jet is procured or whatever. All I know is that I have been using a car that is constantly sent for repairs and finally I was told 'we are buying a new car'.” - Sapa