File photo: Reuters

 Johannesburg - The disregard shown for the public sector austerity measures announced by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was disturbing, the Association of Public Accounts Committees (Apac) said on Tuesday. 

It was reported on Sunday that North West premier Thandi Modise acquired a new BMW 750i at a cost of R1.3 million, despite a ban on extravagant spending on luxury vehicles. 

"Minister Gordhan was very clear in urging the public sector to exercise prudence in dealing with public funds," Apac secretary Hlomane Chauke said in a statement. 

"We call upon law enforcement agencies in provinces to exercise effective oversight and investigate recent media allegations of political leaders buying lavish cars with state funds," he said. 

According to the Sunday Times, Modise's spokesman Lesiba Kgwele said the vehicle was not acquired in defiance of a Cabinet directive. 

He reportedly told the newspaper that suggestions that the purchase was a snub of Gordhan's call for cost-cutting were disingenuous. 

Kgwele said the official vehicle used by Modise's predecessor had travelled more than the suggested maximum of 120 000km, and was constantly breaking down and compromising Modise's security. 

Chauke said all ministers, premiers, MECs, mayors and government departments should heed Gordhan's call to exercise prudence when spending public funds. 

"Apac further calls upon on public accounts committees and municipal public accounts committees to leave no stone unturned in their efforts to ensure that public entities comply with minister Gordhan's prescripts," he said. - Sapa