South Africa

South Africa’s ministers have generators funded – and don’t pay for water!

South Africa’s ministers and deputy ministers – who draw a salary of between R2 million and R2.5 million a year – do not have to pay for water and electricity thanks to changes to the ministerial handbook earlier this year.

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While the rest of the country is experiencing the worst load shedding – including hospitals, schools and other critical services – the same ministers enjoy uninterrupted power in their private residences in Pretoria, City Press reported.

The weekend paper pointed to changes made to the ministerial handbook in May 2022, which removed the R5 000 cap on municipal utilities covered by the government.

Previously, ministers were only exempt from paying their bills so long as they remained below this amount.

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However, the new handbook reads: “The department responsible for public works shall be responsible for the costs associated with the provision of water and electricity to official residences”.

The previous version stated: “The department responsible for public works shall be responsible for the costs associated with the provision of water and electricity to a state-owned residence, provided that such cost is limited to R5 000 per month per state-owned residence.”

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Exempt from load shedding

According to BusinessTech, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed off on these changes in May this year, which also included a R100 000 increase in the limit for minister to purchase cars.

Ministers and their deputies can currently spend up to R800 000 on vehicles.

The Department of Public Works pays for ministers’ utilities – so in effect taxpayers are footing the bill for these privileges.

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According to the City Press, cabinet members are also exempt from load shedding as their private residences in Pretoria are on the same grid as the union buildings, which cannot be powered down due to its status as a national key point.

For ministers who do not reside in load shedding-free areas, the department will fund generators, the paper added.

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