Zuma govt blows R1.5bn on luxuries – DA

2010-07-15 12:16

Since taking office, President Jacob Zuma’s government has spent a

total of R1.5 billion on luxury cars, five-star hotel accommodation, parties,

tickets for sports events and “self-congratulatory” advertising, the Democratic

Alliance (DA) said today.

“This kind of spending represents a gross misallocation of public

funds,” DA national spokesperson Lindiwe Mazibuko told a parliamentary media

briefing.

The R1.5 billion was R500 million more than the figure reported by

her party in April this year, she said.

According to the DA’s latest Wasteful Expenditure Monitor, released

at the briefing, the national department to “waste” the most was public

works.

“It spent approximately R99 million on upgrades to the residences

of public officials when the Zuma administration came into office,” the document

states.

The document says the most wasteful provincial government, “by

quite a large margin“, is African National Congress-run KwaZulu-Natal.

“It spent R120.5 million on a variety of items, including

unnecessary rental space, luxury cars and artwork.”

Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu was responsible for the biggest

expenditure on cars since April, her department having spent about R7 million on

four Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

The monitor says the total spent on new vehicles by Zuma’s

government now totals R65.8 million.

The total spent on parties, conferences and similar events now

totalled R209 million, including R300 000 spent on a party by the Tshwane Metro

Council to celebrate executive mayor Gwen Ramokgopa’s state of the city address

and a gala dinner at the Pretoria city hall.

The document also contains details of the millions spent on World

Cup tickets by Cabinet members, municipalities and state-owned

enterprises.

The biggest spender in this regard was the department of transport,

which forked out R20 million for the event.

Trade and industry spent R16.7 million, while Eskom spent R12

million on tickets.

The total spent on tickets to sporting events was R135.9

million.

According to the monitor, the state has also spent R209 million on

parties and conferences, and a further R241 million on “unnecessary property

rentals, hotel stays and property renovations”.

This included R65 million for “upgrades to facilities servicing

President Zuma’s private home at Nkandla”, which came in the form of a

helicopter pad, clinic, visitors’ centre and parking lot, among others.

It also included the R515 000 spent by Communications Minister

Siphiwe Nyanda on “prolonged stays” at luxury five-star establishments,

including Cape Town’s Mount Nelson and Twelve Apostles hotels.

Asked if a portion of the total R1.5 billion spent by government

could not be deemed “necessary” expenditure, Mazibuko conceded it could be, but

said the scale of government’s wasteful spending was such that this “wouldn’t

make much of a dent” in the total figure.

She said the fact that the total had increased by R500 000 over the

past three months was “incredibly depressing”, and it appeared that the ANC was

ignoring Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s call last year to curb such

spending.

According to the Wasteful Expenditure Monitor, “almost all the

items of wasteful expenditure tracked... have occurred during the Zuma

administration’s term in office”.


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