SA ministers, deputies BARRED from claiming ‘free business class flights’

Now that’s what we call progress. A new travel policy for former Members of Parliament has come into effect this month, and it prevents ex-ministers, deputies, and their respective spouses from claiming FREE business class flights.

Gravy Plane grounded: Ex-ministers, deputies ‘cannot claim business class flights’

The extensive rulebook clamps-down on frivolous expenses, reducing the amount of state-funded flights available to these top politicians SIX-FOLD. There’s also a new cap that has been introduced, limiting how long ex-Cabinet members and their spouses can lean on public funds for, when it comes to their jet-setting.

The number of free annual flights for retired ministers (48) and their spouses (24) are cut from a combined total of 72 to 12.They are now only entitled to economy class instead of business class.Instead of a lifetime of free flights, they may now make use of this benefit for a period of five years after retirement.Previously, if a minister and spouse used their full allocation over 20 years, they’d cost the taxpayer R11.5 million PER COUPLE.Under new rules, the DA estimate that they will save the public R39 million per year.The average yearly cost per beneficiary will drop from R252 000 to just R12 000.

The DA’s success in clipping the wings of the ANC retirement Gravy Plane can save SA taxpayers up to R39 million per year, or R195 million over a 5-year period.

No more business class flights. A five-year limit instead of a lifetime of free flights.https://t.co/kOjCJDVnDM

— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) April 6, 2022

Do the new rules go far enough? DA says no…

This is a victory that the DA is all too happy to claim. The opposition have rallied against the so-called ‘Gravy Plane allowances’, which have seen some former ministers rack-up bills of over R300 000.

Leon Schreiber, the Shadow Minister for Public Service and Administration, has hailed the breakthrough. However, he is hellbent on going further – and Schreiber wants to close a loophole that will allow outgoing the ministers to claim under the old rules ‘until March 2027’:

“We’ve secured the first ever meaningful reduction in the grand Gravy Plane perks for retired Ministers, Deputy Ministers and their families, saving taxpayers up to R39 million per year. Our success in this endeavour provides powerful proof that determined pressure from the opposition can lead to significant breakthroughs.”

“The most important problem is that all Ministers, Deputy Ministers and their spouses who were previously eligible for free flights in terms of the Ministerial Handbook will remain eligible – albeit in terms of the new limits – until 31 March 2027. It is nonsensical to force taxpayers to continue paying for their flights.”

Leon Schreiber

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