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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

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

There has been outrage that ministers are exempt from paying for rates despite earning at least R2 million a year.

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.

There has been widespread outrage following reports that ministers and deputy ministers are exempt from paying for rates despite earning at least R2 million a year.

Ministerial handbook

The Democratic Alliance (DA) said it wanted a review of how amendments which details perks for ministers and their deputies can be changed by President Cyril Ramaphosa without consulting anyone.

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

DA Shadow Minister of Public Service and Administration Leon Schreiber said the lack of transparency is giving rise to the outrage.

“It appears Cyril Ramaphosa hid from the public amendments he made to the Ministerial Handbook that force taxpayers to pay water and electricity bills of Cabinet cadres.


Government spokesperson Phumla Williams said ministers and deputy ministers are not exempt from paying for water and electricity.

Williams said Public Works is responsible for providing water and electricity to state-owned residences.

“We would like to assure South Africans that the private properties of the members of the executive (mostly ANC members) remain their responsibility, their upkeep, including the water and electricity.”

Load shedding

While South Africans have been struggling with deliberate power cuts under the failing state-owned entity Eskom, Williams has also made it clear that ministers and deputy minister are also not exempt from rolling blackouts.

“On the load shedding, we also like to assure South Africans that the inconvenience that was experienced by everybody also affected the members of the executive in the accommodation that they were occupying.”

“The only exemptions that were made were with the mines that were supplying Eskom with coal at the time. Also, the seat of government which is the Union Buildings and Parliament were exempted during this time,” Williams said.

ALSO READ: Joburg Water warns reservoirs and towers are ‘extremely strained’

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