Smit questions use of govt cars at Swapo rallies

13 June 2019 | Politics

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) Member of Parliament Nico Smit has questioned the use of government vehicles to transport ministers and senior government officials to and from Swapo's political events.

Smit made his discontent known to National Assembly members on Tuesday, when he put questions to Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila on the abuse of state resources.

Smit made specific reference to Swapo's 59th birthday bash held in the Zambezi Region over the weekend.

Investigations instituted by the PDM treasurer-general indicate that approximately 140 government vehicles were used to attend the event.

“As the leader of government business, can you confirm that government vehicles were indeed used at this particular party celebration? Secondly, can you please inform this August House that the cars were used on taxpayers' money?” Smit asked.

He continued: “Is it right during these prevailing economic conditions to be using taxpayers' money in the interest of a single political party and not for the people themselves who made this monetary contribution through tax deductions?”

The politician also sought clarity on “when and where do we draw the line between state resources and resources of political parties?”

It was at this stage that information minister Stanley Simataa, a member of Swapo and government spokesperson, interjected.

“You also have car allowance,” he said hastily, in what appeared to be an attempt to discredit Smit's queries to the premier.

Simataa and other cabinet ministers and their deputies are entitled to three state-sponsored vehicles – a Mercedes-Benz E-200 sedan, Volkswagen Polo and a Toyota double cab bakkie.

The 14 regional governors and their advisors are also entitled to government cars.

This package comes with a fuel card.

PDM has also asked government to reduce the number of cars in the prime minister, vice-president as well as former presidents' motorcades to decrease unnecessary expenditure.

Money generated from the sale of these cars could be redirected to pertinent national needs, such as the prevailing dire drought situation, the party suggested.

Recently, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila told Nampa government cars assigned to ministers are to be used strictly for government-related matters.

She also said selling some of the cars assigned to ministers and their deputies, as well as reducing her motorcade, would not save government millions of dollars.

The prime minister is expected to respond to Smit's questions on Thursday.


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