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MBABANE – Government’s short term solutions are quite costly. The cost of running external examinations this year has set government into a deficit of about E40 million.

This amount was used to cater for the external examinations since the beginning of October.
In haste, the Ministry of Education and Training roped in security personnel to invigilate and transport external examination papers to various schools and further submit them to various offices of Regional Education Officers (REOs) in the country, daily.

This impromptu decision coerced government to rent 400 vehicles from Woodford Car Hire. These cars were part of the 507 vehicles used during the National Elections.

They were initially rented by the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) from June 1 until September 30, 2018.
The 400 cars were rented at E660 000 per day.

This follows that each car cost the taxpayer E1 650 per day just to be under the authority of government. The vehicles were with the Ministry of Education and Training for 46 days. This is so, as external examinations started on October 1, 2018. The vehicles were returned to the car hire service provider on November 19, 2018.

For this period, government will pay E30 360 000.
Most of the cars that were rented by the EBC during the elections were Isuzu double cab bakkies. According to auto trader, a car dealership website, the vehicles have a capacity of 80 litres of fuel.

A litre of diesel retails at about E12.86 which translates to E 1 028.95 per full tank. On average, each car was fuelled twice a week. This means that about E6 585 292.80 was spent on fuel over the 46 days.
Further, government spent E2 484 000 on refreshments. The refreshments were offered to security personnel who were manning schools during the external examinations.

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