Develop minds, not stomachs – DA on Eastern Cape’s ‘whopping’ catering bill

2013-10-17 13:47

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The Eastern Cape government has spent more than R87 million on catering, with certain departments spending more on catering than staff development, the DA has said.

The party’s spokesperson, Bobby Stevenson, said in a statement today the provincial government spent R87.2 million on catering in the 2012/13 financial year.

“In contrast, the amount spent on staff development was R95.9 million, according to a DA analysis of the latest annual reports of departments,” he said.

“In a province where departments consistently blame capacity problems for poor service delivery, it is scandalous that almost the same amount is spent on catering as on staff development ... We should be developing minds, not stomachs.”

Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet’s office was not immediately available for comment.

Stevenson said certain departments spent more on catering than on staff development. These included local government (R3.3 million on catering versus R1.8 million on staff development), social development (R7 million versus R3.5 million), the premier’s office (R4.9 million versus R1.1 million), and the provincial legislature (R6.9 million versus R1.4 million).

“The department of education spent a whopping R39.4 million on catering and R40.2 million on staff development,” he said.

“All these figures illustrate that provincial departments have got their priorities wrong. This province requires a highly capacitated civil service that can deliver quality services.”

Stevenson said he would ask the departments follow-up questions to establish the nature of their catering spending.

The DA would also ask how much money the province spent at franchised fast food outlets and restaurants.

This followed reports that Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas used her official credit card to spend R53 159 on fast food during her first 10 weeks in office.

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