The DA will lodge a complaint with the Public Protector to investigate the Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu, for wilfully misleading Parliament on the purchase of cars by the Department for herself and her then deputy Nomathemba November.
In an oral reply to a question I posed to her on the 29th of November 2017, Minister Zulu seemingly omitted that the Department was in the process of buying new cars for her and her Deputy.
On the 16th of March 2018, a written response to a DA question revealed that two new BMW 540is, to the tune of over R1,8 million, were purchased on 20th December 2017 for the Minister and her Deputy under the authorisation of the Director General.
Minister Zulu’s failure to disclose a process that was already underway to purchase new cars by the Department, while aware of its relevance to her oral reply in Parliament, was not only misleading but a possible violation of the Code of Ethics for Members of the Executive.
The Public Protector must therefore launch an investigation in terms of section 2.3(a) of the Code of Ethics which states that Members of the Executive may not “wilfully mislead the legislature to which they are accountable“. Minister Zulu may have knowingly refused to share information to enable Parliament to exercise its oversight function over her Department.
The DA finds it unacceptable that the Minister continues to spend millions of rands for her luxury and comfort while the Department of Small Business Development struggles to fulfil its mandate of helping scale small and medium businesses in the country.
In a recent sitting of the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development, members expressed dissatisfaction at the Department’s failure to understand its mandate and poor attainment of performance targets.
The DA has long advocated for the Department to be collapsed into one of the Ministries in the economic cluster as its continued status as a standalone department is an unnecessary drain on the fiscus.
Minister Zulu’s love for luxury spending coupled with poor performance by her department, must be enough evidence for President Cyril Ramaphosa to collapse the Department to prevent further waste of taxpayer’s money.