No flying for ex-politicians - report
Former presidents and deputy presidents will not be allowed to travel domestically until April next year, The Times reported on Friday.
Due to “serious budgetary constraints” experienced by President Jacob Zuma's office, former president Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and FW De Klerk would have their travel and subsistence allowances cut off.
It would also affect former deputy presidents Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Baleka Mbethe, according to the report.
The allowances would only resume in the new financial year, which starts in April 2012.
A letter from Zuma's office titled “Benefits of Executive Office” reportedly read: “The presidency is currently experiencing serious budgetary constraints and unfortunately the budget that was allocated to you for travel and subsistence has been exhausted.
“We are therefore not in the position to fund any further flights until 31 March 2012. This benefit will resume with effect 1 April 2012.”
According to the daily, Mbeki and De Klerk confirmed they had received the letters notifying them of the temporary cut-offs, but they refused to say how it would affect them.
Mlambo-Ngcuka, who is in the UK, was not aware of the cuts.
Sello Hatang of the Nelson Mandela Foundation said he was not in a position to comment on the matter.
Presidential spokeswoman Zanele Mngadi said the cuts were due to the difficult economic climate and staff had been told to reduce expenditure.
“The presidency is also exploring economy class travel for senior managers up to chief director level as part of the cost-saving measures.”
Mngadi said all units within the presidency had been informed about cost-cutting measures and had accepted them. - Sapa