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Cape Town - Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is rolling in style – in a Lexus valued at nearly R1 million.
The revelation came in response to a question asked by the DA’s Stuart Farrow of the Defence department, which said the Lexus LS450, valued at R951 276.42, was bought for the minister when she assumed office in June last year. The car was bought because the department’s allocated vehicle had been transferred to the Public Service and Administration Department, where former defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu was transferred.
Attempts on Saturday to contact Mapisa-Nqakula’s spokesman, Sonwabo Mbananga, proved unsuccessful.
David Maynier, DA defence spokesman, was unimpressed by the expenditure – coming on top of more than R13m “blown” on VIP flights.
“Now we hear the minister has blown R1m on a new vehicle. This sends the wrong signal to the defence force, which is under massive financial pressure.”
Earlier this month, several ministers came under fire for the high cost of car rentals while on official duty.
At the time, government spokeswoman Phumla Williams said: “Attempts to misrepresent expenditure by the executive as a misuse of public funds are misleading.”
Previous parliamentary questions revealed that, since last year, cars ranging between R550 000 and R900 000 were bought, including:
* A Nissan Pathfinder, valued at R550 000, for Deputy Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene.
* A BMW X6, valued at about R900 000, for Deputy Correctional Services Minister Ngoako Ramathlodi.
* A Mercedes Benz E350 for Deputy Police Minister Maggie Sotyu, valued at more than R700 000.
This is in addition to millions spent in 2009 and 2010, when then-communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda, Higher Education minister Blade Nzimande, and Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel splashed out on BMW 7 series.