Mandela’s Toyota Cressida ‘freedom ride’ attracts foreign buyer_1

A Toyota Cressida that transported former president Nelson Mandela from the Victor Verster prison to Cape Town City Hall, was said to have disappeared thereafter. The iconic car has recently resurfaced in Lesotho and the owner is allegedly in the process of selling it to an international buyer.

According to SABC News, the car is in Lesotho but the current owner, who does not want to be named, said despite several attempts to alert South Africa’s government about the location of the car, he is now in advanced negotiations with an overseas dealership.

While the owner said he would have preferred the car to remain on African soil, he has now opted to release the car to whoever sees the most value in it.

Mandela released from Victor Verster Prison 

Mandela was arrested for leading a sabotage campaign against the government at the time and underwent what was called the Rivonia trial from 1962 to 1964. 

Madiba and his co-accused were then transferred from Pretoria to the prison on Robben Island, remaining there for the next 18 years until 1982. 

In April 1982, Mandela was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison in Tokai, Cape Town, along with senior ANC leaders; Walter Sisulu, Andrew Mlangeni, Ahmed Kathrada, and Raymond Mhlaba. 

In December 1988 Mandela was moved to the then, Victor Verster Prison near Paarl, where he stayed until his release in 1990. When Mandela was set free from the Victor Verster Prison, he left in the Toyota Cressida — which makes it quite an iconic car. Mandela was essentially a free man for the first time in 27 years in that car. 

Ramaphosa’s ride 30 years later 

It has been 30 years since Mandela’s release and therefore, a lot has changed, including cars like the Cressida. 

President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa is usually driven in an armoured BMW 7 Series, or on occasion, a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. A similar car is used by the Deputy President of South Africa David Mabuza. 

The presidential motorcade is composed of numerous Golf, Jeep Grand Cherokee, BMW 3 series and Mercedes-Benz ML-Class models, followed by a number of Mercedes-Benz V-Class and police cars.

South African’s are keen to see which of these cars Ramaphosa will pull up in for SONA on Thursday. 

SA government perks regarding cars

In June 2019, the government published its revised guide for members of the executive, effectively replacing the controversial ministerial handbook introduced in 2007.

According to Businesstech, the new guide covers everything from relocation expenses to cars, with most of the new perks appearing to be largely the same or slightly reined in from the previous ministerial handbook.

Some of the biggest and most notable perks regarding vehicles included:

National members shall be provided with one vehicle for official use in each seat of office. Provincial members shall be provided with one vehicle for official use;In the event that an official vehicle is not procured for a member, they may be reimbursed for using their own private vehicle; andDepartments may only replace a motor vehicle purchased for a member if the vehicle has reached 120 000 km or five years, or if the car experiences serious mechanical problems and is in a poor condition.