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Johannesburg - When his car is in for repairs, he hires an Audi A4 or a Q7 or a Mercedes-Benz E Class. When he goes to an out-of-town meeting he takes a Mercedes ML, or perhaps a BMW X5.
For a workshop, he took a Jaguar at more than R2 000 for a day. When he went to a meeting that ran next to a long weekend, he drove a Porsche.
And the taxpayers paid for it, to the tune of R622 304.51.
That’s how much then minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Richard Baloyi has spent on car hire since January last year.
The car-hire spending was handed to Parliament on Tuesday by the minister in a written reply to a question by DA MP Theo Coetzee.
Then deputy minister Yunus Carrim wasn’t far behind. His car hire until June, when he became communications minister, was R128 001.54. He favoured the Hyundai IX35 and the Kia Sportage for his trips.
Baloyi travelled 3 042km, costing about R205 per kilometre. Carrim was cheaper, driving 17 021km at under R8/km.
Carrim’s bill may have been lower, because ministry officials didn’t appear to notice two cases of double billing.
Baloyi’s travel included different vehicles hired on the same days. In June last year, Baloyi ran up R28 886 doing 1 414km in a BMW X5; on the same days he ran up another R15 518 doing 762km in a Mercedes-Benz ML.
In August last year, a BMW X5 and an Audi A4 were hired at the same time, together costing almost R60 000 and travelling about 4 000km. In March this year, there was an overlap of at least one day on the hiring of three vehicles.
Baloyi’s use of a Porsche Cayenne for December 12 to 15 - the week of the Reconciliation Day long weekend - cost R11 444.
The reply explained that the minister and deputy minister were responsible for the local government portfolio, which meant “extensive travelling”.
They have official vehicles in Cape Town and Pretoria, but the ministry said it was “cost effective” to hire cars elsewhere.
Most of the travel was logged as “meetings” for security reasons.
In another written reply also released on Tuesday, the ministry acknowledged the “huge backlogs” in infrastructure in the Eastern Cape.
Cope MP Nonkululeko Gcume asked about the lack of community halls in that province.
“A number of wards have community halls,” Baloyi said in the reply. “Many more are in the construction stage.”