Govt squanders a R1bn on bling: DA

2010-04-08 12:27

GOVERNMENT has squandered more than a billion rand of taxpayers’ money over the past eight months on luxury vehicles, expensive hotels, banquets, advertising and other “wasteful expenditure”, the DA said today.

“The total wasteful expenditure by the ANC . . . now stands at R1,004,000,000,” Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Atholl Trollip told journalists at a media conference at Parliament in Cape Town.

The party had been tracking such spending through its so-called wasteful expenditure monitor since July 26 last year.

Trollip said that under President Jacob Zuma’s administration, “wasteful expenditure has been the order of the day”.

DA monitoring of spending indicated government was “out of touch with economic realities in South Africa”.

According to a document tabled at the conference, government spending on new luxury vehicles totalled R47.4 million; on luxury hotels and other “property-related expense scandals”, R4.5 million; and, on parties, banquets, conference and other such events, R203 million.

Further, government had spent a total of R16.5 million on “wasteful marketing, e-marketing and self-congragulatory advertising”; and, a total of R732.9 million on “all other items of wasteful and fruitless expenditure”.

The latter figure included an amount of R117.5 million “that it cost the Gauteng provincial government to cancel their motorsport contract”.

The document states that spending listed in the monitor “is only money that can be without a doubt considered wasteful squandering of public funds – be it on unnecessary glitz and partying, or on clear-cut and proven negligence or corruption”.

Trollip said the total figure was “very, very conservative”.

Not included, for example, were some of the very contentious contracts, to the tune of R140 million, allegedly involving ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, which were currently being investigated.

Speaking at the media conference, DA national spokeswoman Lindiwe Mazibuko said that when it came to spending on luxury vehicles and expensive hotels, Zuma appeared “not that capable of controlling the actions of his Cabinet ministers”.

Trollip said it had proved difficult to obtain answers to some parliamentary questions the party had posed to ministers on spending.

Asked what his party planned to do about this, he said the matter had been raised twice with Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, the leader of government business.

“Motlanthe has reported to the House twice that he has met with Cabinet to inform them that they must meet the parliamentary guidelines of answering these questions. They’re still not meeting them,” he said.

According to the document – titled “R1-Billion and Growing: The ANC’s Wasteful Expenditure” – many ANC officials, including many in the Cabinet, have a “frivolous attitude” towards spending taxpayers’ money.

“There appears to be a view that the government does not need to account for this money to the people who earned it, or to explain why it is more productive to spend money on bling than on education and job creation.”

The over R1 billion wasted since July 26 equated to just under 19?000 RDP houses, or enough funds to pay the annual salaries of another 8?000 teachers, it states. – Sapa

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