Friday, September 11, 2009

Nzimande: I'm Still a Communist

Nzimande: I'm still a communist


South African Communist Party (SACP) general secretary Blade Nzimande, recently involved in a furore over his R1,1-million luxury official vehicle, is still a communist and committed to the working class, he said on Friday.

"I have not abandoned my values. I don't think I've abandoned my moral leadership. I am still a communist, I am still committed to the working class," he said.

"I am still committed to taking up the issues relating to the poor and we did explain what happened in relation to that vehicle," Nzimande, who is also Higher Education Minister, said on the sidelines of the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) national general council in Benoni.

The government said recently that it had appointed a task team to see how officials could cut unnecessary spending.

"Government at the moment is undertaking a process through Cabinet of looking at a whole range of austerity measures that must be taken and once those are done they must be announced so that they are able to guide all government institutions and government departments," Nzimande said.

"Its very necessary, I support that to the hilt," he added, just minutes before leaving for the airport in his silver-grey BMW 750i.

SACP alliance partner, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has called on government ministers who have bought flashy cars to return them and opt for "the kind of modest cars" bought by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

The SACP said the party's concerns for the safety of its office-bearers prompted the choice of car, adding that it has often imposed security measures on a reluctant Nzimande.

On Thursday, African National Congress (ANC) deputy secretary general Thandi Modise said ministers who had bought flashy cars should have been more sensitive to the fact that the country was in the midst of a recession.

MPs who have opted for luxury BMWs include Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has bought a Range Rover Sport TDV8 as her official vehicle in Pretoria, together with a BMW 730D for use in Cape Town.

On Friday it emerged that Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is in the process of buying two Mercedes-Benzes for R1,2-million.

He was acquiring a Mercedes-Benz E200 for use in Cape Town, at a cost of R451 134, and a Mercedes-Benz E500 for Pretoria, for R757 545, according a response in Parliament to a question by the Democratic Alliance. -- Sapa

Source: Mail & Guardian Online
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