Legislature: shock at high costs of consultants

2012-10-18 00:00

THE KZN Legislature was hauled over the coals yesterday over the skyrocketing costs of consultants which resulted in taxpayers forking out R2,5 million in the year that ended in March.

This emerged when the legislature was questioned about its finances by the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) and its annual report for 2011/12 financial year.

The report tabled to Scopa revealed that R2,5 million was spent on 37 consultants.

One consultant charged the legislature R69 399 on labour matters for a single day’s work while another charged R56 497 for service rendered in two days. In another instance, a consultant was paid R170 043 for chairing a disciplinary hearing that ran for 14 days.

ANC’s Belinda Scott found it odd that one of the consultants charged the legislature about R70 000 for a day’s work. “These figures are outrageous. We have to find affordable consultants,” she said.

Scott also said the amounts charged by consultants, when converted to hourly or daily rates, were far removed.

“I don’t care if you work a day or an hour, these consultants charge between R3 000 and R8 000 an hour. There has to be professional rates.”

DA’s Radley Keys said it was shocking that the legislature paid the huge amount to consultants when it employed skilled personnel.

Keys said the question that had to be asked was whether the institution was not making double payments if consultants did the work of its personnel.

The IFP’s Roman Liptak expressed his concern on whether the payments were made in compliance with cost-cutting measures introduced by Treasury, while the ACDP’s Jo-Ann Downs demanded a list of consultants.

Committee chairperson Sipho Nkosi said: “The auditor-general has raised concern on over-reliance in all three spheres of government.”

In her response, legislature’s secretary Narusha Naidoo said the consultants had been hired through a tender process and there was a breakdown of the work they did.

She promised to furnish the committee with the list of consultants who had been hired.

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