AG must probe public works' wasteful spending: DA

2011-12-15 08:32
Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance is asking the auditor general to investigate fruitless and wasteful spending on public relations firms "hired" by the public works department to "salvage the image" of the beleaguered former minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde.

In September 2011, the department paid more than R500 000 to Mpine M Consulting to provide public relations services and help strengthen media expertise within the department, DA spokesperson John Steenhuisen said on Wednesday.

An additional R320 000 was reportedly paid over a two-month period to public relations company Siyeluleka Consulting.

However, a reply to a parliamentary question revealed that the department had a fully-fledged communications and marketing unit, employing 27 people.

The senior management in the unit had more than 60 years’ accumulative experience in the field, a "fact itself pre-supposing depth, capacity, and capability", he said.

The question was why did former minister spend over R800 000 on PR firms when she already had such expertise at her disposal?

"Clearly the expenditure in this department should be investigated by the auditor general.

"If the department attempts to justify this expenditure, then we would like to know why a 27-strong unit of 'experienced' communication and marketing specialists had to be assisted by outside PR consultants," Steenhuisen said.

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