Mini budget: 15 ways state workers will tighten their belts

2013-10-23 14:18

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Belt tightening in government is set to start by December 1 and savings could go into the billions of rand, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced in his medium-term budget speech today.

The proposed measures, approved by Cabinet this morning, will affect ministers, their deputies, premiers, their executive councils, mayors and government officials.

1. No more fancy ministerial cars. They will be standardised, with the top car allowed being the equivalent of a BMW 530 (the estimated price is less than R1 million). Security features will be taken into account when costs are calculated.

2. No more coining it from using your own cars. Ministers won’t be allowed to use their own cars to travel and then claim back from government.

3. Flying in a little bit less style. Ministers will be allowed to travel business class when flying, but won’t fly first class.

4. Go straight from A to B. Stopovers when flying will not be allowed if these aren’t necessary.

5. All state credit cards will be cancelled as soon as a memo on this is circulated.

6. No more booze will be served at government functions, unless it really is required, such as a state banquet for a foreign dignitary.

7. No more staying in expensive hotels. Ministers awaiting state housing will be allocated rented apartments and the department of public works will develop new refurbishing requirements.

8. Officials will be limited to B-class cars unless rural travel requires a more expensive car.

9. Bulk purchasing of government cars will be considered, because it’s cheaper.

10. Government agencies must make better use of management and less use of consultants.

11. There will be more discussion in government about the cost implications of having two capitals, one in Cape Town and one in Pretoria.

12. Eat less. Catering costs take up a lot of money and there will be guidelines to reduce these.

13. The government entertainment allowance will be capped at R2 000.

14. Spending on advertising will be cut and government will look at bulk buying and other measures to reduce this.

15. Government will have to use its own facilities for meetings as far as possible, and there will also be steps to standardise office leases to reduce costs and irregularities in this regard.

This morning, during a press conference, Gordhan said the presidency is affected by cost-cutting like any other department, but if President Jacob Zuma needs a jet, he will get one.

He added that the cost-cutting measures were led by Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and will be incorporated into the Ministerial Handbook.

Work is still being done on some aspects of the handbook. Gordhan said it took four years to develop these measures and the timing of the measures does not mean it is electioneering.

“The question is, are you going to vote for us because of these cost-cutting measures?” Gordhan teased a journalist who asked the question.

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