Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is tightening the public purse’s belt.
Mboweni and his Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs counterpart, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, have told the country’s 257 mayors to use public transport or shuttles and stop hiring expensive luxury cars.
This is among new stringent measures to cut costs in municipalities and related entities that come into effect next month.
Municipalities have also been told to avoid spending geld on expensive office furniture.
New municipal cost containment regulations published on Friday have declared that local government officials and poli-
tical office bearers must either use council vehicles or use public transport if the costs of such services are lower than hiring a vehicle.
They have also been warned that should they fail to implement or comply with the new regulations they will be held liable for committing financial misconduct or financial offences, which may be declared a criminal offence.
Other new measures include the barring of overnight accommodation unless the destination exceed 500km.
From 1 July, municipal managers have also been told to ensure policies are in place to manage the use of council vehicles for official purposes.
The tough new measures follow the Treasury’s decision last year to stop mayors from buying cars that cost more than R700 000 or 70% of their annual salaries.
Meanwhile, costs on bodyguards for VIPs are also being cut.
According to the regulations, they may only use the services of police to conduct periodical or quarterly security threat assessments and a report must be submitted to the speaker’s office.
Last year, the Buffalo City Metro spent over R10.2 million on 14 bodyguards for its mayor Xola Pakati, his deputy Zoliswa Matana and speaker Alfred Mtsi.