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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

DA warns Ramaphosa to scrap ministerial handbook or they’ll march to minister’s homes

The DA said Ramaphosa has until Friday, 21 October, to meet its demands.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has issued an ultimatum to President Cyril Ramaphosa to apologise to South Africans and scrap the ministerial handbook for what it called the president’s “abuses to dish out expensive perks to ministers and deputy ministers”.

The party held a media briefing on Monday surrounding the amendments to the handbook, that ministers and deputy ministers are exempt from paying for rates despite earning at least R2 million a year.

Complaint against Ramaphosa

While government has clarified that no taxpayers’ money was used to pay for electricity and water for government ministers’ official residences, there is scant detail on the removal of a R5 000 cap on municipal utilities for the officials.

ALSO READ: Your house, your responsibility’ – Government responds to free water and lights for ministers

DA Shadow Minister of Public Service and Administration Leon Schreiber said the party has already laid a complaint with the public protector over the apparent fact that there is no law that provides for the existence of the ministerial handbook.

“In our view, it is also clearly inconsistent with the constitution that the president can hide his milking of taxpayers from parliament. But Ramaphosa need not wait for the public protector to make a finding. It should be obvious to him that the public does not accept his government’s lame excuses for why the president should have dictatorial powers over this handbook.”

Ultimatum to Ramaphosa

“As a result, the DA is today directing an ultimatum to Ramaphosa personally to:

  • Apologise to the people of South Africa for feasting on their suffering.
  •  Scrap the ministerial handbook in its current form.
  • Replace the handbook with an open and transparent new process where parliament gets the power to decide which limited and properly costed cabinet benefits may be warranted in certain cases.

Schreiber said Ramaphosa has until Friday, 21 October, to meet the DA’s demands.

“We have noted that various civil society formations share the DA’s concerns about this issue, including Cosatu. Consequently, if Ramaphosa fails to meet our demands by Friday, we will extend a hand of cooperation to formations across civil society to mobilise for a march on the scene of Ramaphosa’s crime: Bryntirion Estate in Pretoria.”

“This estate is home to dozens of ministerial mansions, including the official presidential residence, Mahlamba Ndlopfu. It is behind the walls of this estate that ANC ministers and deputy ministers raise their glasses to the fact that they enjoy free electricity and water while the rest of the country is crippled by power blackouts and thirst,” Schreiber said.

If Ramaphosa fails?

Schreiber said if Ramaphosa fails to urgently scrap the handbook, “society will mobilise against him and his government”.

“And the DA will be right out front leading that effort to sweep the ANC out of power in 2024, starting at the gates of Bryntirion Estate,” Schreiber said.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa ‘hid’ fact that taxpayers would pay for ministers’ water, electricity, generators – DA

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Cyril Ramaphosa Democratic Alliance (DA)

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