Govt’s party splurging

2008-11-28 00:00

Cape Town — Finance Minister Trevor Manuel’s request that government departments should seriously cut back on parties, travel and marketing has gone largely unheeded.

A total of R2,19 billion was spent on these items by 18 of the 26 national departments during the past financial year — an increase of 19% compared to 2006/07, said DA MP Motlatjo Thetjeng this week. Eight departments did not respond to the DA’s parliamentary questions about these expenses.

The increase in spending came despite Manuel’s appeal to departments in October last year to cut these expenses by R2,3 billion over three years.

The Water Affairs and Forestry Department spent a whopping 604% more on catering, an increase from R5 million in 2006/07 to R36 million in 2007/08.

Transport’s catering expenditure for the same period increased 566% from about R15 million to R84 million.

Hotel accommodation cost Environmental Affairs and Tourism R14,5 million, about 300% more than in 2006/07, while the accommodation account for Public Affairs increased by nearly R17 million to R23 million.

The Justice Department’s travel expenditure increased by R118 million to R265 million, while Public Affairs spent 151% more on travel than in the previous financial year.

Thetjeng said the Agriculture Department was the only one to achieve an overall saving of 15% on travel, accommodation and catering. Defence spent R51 million less on travel, while Transport reduced its expenditure on this item from R23,8 million to R10,7 million.

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