Lindiwe Zulu's snazzy ride under scrutiny

22 March 2018 - 12:35 By Timeslive
Lindiwe Zulu.
Lindiwe Zulu.
Image: DANIEL BORN

The Public Protector's office is being asked to investigate Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu following her department's purchase of two luxury cars a week before Christmas.

Two new BMW 540is‚ to the tune of over R1.8-million‚ were purchased on December 20‚ 2017 for the minister and her deputy.

The vehicles are marketed for businesspeople with the promise of state of the art features including "automated driving in situations such as traffic jams and slow-moving traffic or on long journeys".

MP Toby Chance‚ from the Democratic Alliance‚ is not concerned with the vehicles' performance. Rather‚ Chance finds it "unacceptable that the Minister continues to spend millions of rands for her luxury and comfort while the Department of Small Business Development struggles to fulfil its mandate of helping small scale and medium businesses in the country".

Chance is accusing Zulu of misleading Parliament on the purchase of cars:

"In an oral reply to a question I posed to her on the 29th of November 2017‚ Minister Zulu seemingly omitted that the Department was in the process of buying new cars for her and her Deputy. On the 16th of March 2018‚ a written response to a DA question revealed that two new BMW 540is‚ to the tune of over R1.8-million‚ were purchased on 20th December 2017 for the Minister and her Deputy under the authorisation of the Director General.

Minister Zulu's failure to disclose a process that was already under way to purchase new cars by the Department‚ while aware of its relevance to her oral reply in Parliament‚ was not only misleading but a possible violation of the Code of Ethics for Members of the Executive.

The Public Protector must therefore launch an investigation in terms of . . . the Code of Ethics which states that Members of the Executive may not 'wilfully mislead the legislature to which they are accountable'. Minister Zulu may have knowingly refused to share information to enable Parliament to exercise its oversight function over her Department."

Chance said the department should be collapsed into one of the ministries in the economic cluster "as its continued status as a standalone department is an unnecessary drain on the fiscus".

"Minister Zulu's love for luxury spending‚ coupled with poor performance by her department‚ must be enough evidence for President Cyril Ramaphosa to collapse the department to prevent further waste of taxpayer's money."

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