by Wayne G
"Ask Minister Siphiwe Nyanda what government officials do in a recession..."
What does communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda do in the middle of a recession, where jobs are being lost, houses and cars are being repossessed by the thousand, most industries are in negative growth and we are all being told to watch our spending and tighten our belts?
He goes out and buys, not one, but two top of the range luxury German cars with every extra under the sun attached, thus figuratively speaking running around beltless and shameless.
I sit hear confused and irritated asking myself - what world do our ministers live in? In reality we are being encouraged to save and watch our spending. The government on the other hand, being the well-rounded role models they are, are living like rock stars with an endless supply of funds to buy luxury cars fit for heads of state in most rich first world countries.
While we are grappling with the worst global recession in history our ignorant ministers are rushing out to luxury stores and buying like there is no tomorrow. Eskom, a state owned parastatal, is raising tariffs by 33%; the country is being lambasted by a wave of strikes demanding extra wages, everything is getting more expensive, house hold debt is at its highest in recorded history, and car sales are in negative growth along with most other sales of goods.
Guidelines are flawed
The prescribed guidelines for ministerial purchases are fundamentally flawed and its current practices are not in line with the current economic trends. How on earth can you justify spending R2.5m on two cars when you as a government are pleading poverty, raising taxes, paying your doctors pittances, not supplying your hospitals with the basic equipment used to save lives to name but a few on a very long list?
Minster, I have a friend who was on a flight from Johannesburg to Durban after the final rugby test match between SA and the Lions. One of our senior rugby players and his family were spotted by cabin crew sitting in economy class with the rest of the common man. He and his family were invited to move into business class and he refused point blank saying "he was very happy where he was".
I mention this purely to make a point that you don't have to take everything that is prescribed to you or your misdirected sense of entitlement deems necessary. This form of behaviour should be a lesson to you and all your "bling bling" cronies in government who are rewarding yourselves before you have even started doing your job. At the moment, the way things are going you should be riding a bicycle to the office or making use of our excellent public transport like everyone else.
Minister I challenge you to inform the South African tax-paying public who bought these cars for you out of our hard earned taxes what ceramic surround for controls, ambient interior lighting, adaptive headlights, high beam assist, a three-spoke, leather-covered steering wheel, a R23 400 "rear-seat entertainment" system and a R5 600 "high-gloss satin chrome" paint job help you do your job?
Maybe I am just ignorant but these extras are a slap in our faces. What is wrong with a standard 320d BMW? Most people only dream of owning a 3 series BMW, but you lift your nose up at it and go for the top of the range. Why do you need a 750i BMW?
I will tell you why, because to you it's all about image, image at the cost of all else, as long as you look good in your designer suits, ministerial mansions, and luxury German cars everything else can fall to pieces. This form of behaviour has no place in a third-world country where more than half your population are below the bread line.
Minister, on a more personal level, how do you sleep at night knowing you just spent R2.5m on two cars, while so many South Africans can't even afford a roof over their heads? Do you justify your actions with bureaucratic guidelines and red tape?
Shame on you and every other government official spending our taxes quicker than we can earn them. Every day you hear about another minister blowing the bank on some or other exorbitant spending spree or their officials running elaborate fraudulent schemes.
Mr Jacob Zuma, the so called "president of the people" is also slipping into the cracks of gluttonous and unscrupulous spending with a new government which is clearly out of control and has no idea about the fundamental difference between money and wealth.
Let it be known that you were voted in by the people, the same people who are struggling to make ends meet on a monthly basis. It is time for you and your government to humble yourselves and come down to our level. You are after all our employees; we pay your salaries and fit the bills for all of this reckless spending that has become the norm in the ANC.
Lastly, to everyone who voted for the ANC. The next time you are on walking or driving on one of our roads and a 750i BMW with ceramic surround controls, ambient interior lighting, adaptive headlights, high beam assist a three-spoke, leather-covered steering wheel, a R23 400 "rear-seat entertainment" system and a R5 600 "high-gloss satin chrome" paint job screams past you at 180km/h throwing dust and rubber in your face, leaving your tiny insignificant image in its rear camera view, wipe the dust out of your eyes and take a look around and remember who you voted for. After all it's your vote that gives them the blank cheque.
These officials should be held accountable for this blatant abuse of power and money. It's no wonder we are such an angry nation, our own government is misappropriating our taxes and hiding behind laws they created to protect their taste for the finest luxuries money can buy.
As the late and great Winston Churchill said, "you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all the people all of the time." We are not fools, so next time you pop into your luxury store and buy some unnecessary item, know we are watching you, and we will not stop until you stop.