R2 mln for golf day? It boggles the mind — DA

2012-04-20 00:00

THE KZN Department of Economic Development and Tourism has denied that it spent R1,9 million on hosting a golf day, as claimed by the Democratic Alliance.

Department spokesperson Bheko Madlala said the golf tournament was just a small part of a two-day conference on which the money was spent.

DA MPL Tom Stokes asked MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu how much was allocated for functions in the 2011/12 financial year.

“The allocation of almost R2 million, simply to hold a golf day, boggles the mind, particularly as this money comes out of the pockets of the province’s taxpayers,” he said.

Stokes said the DA recognised that it was the mandate of the economic development department to create opportunities to promote business in the province.

“We also realise that the projects and functions they fund are sometimes risky ventures, with uncertain outcomes, and that it is not always easy to determine what may be wasteful expenditure and what is speculative, but justifiable expenditure,” said Stokes.

But it was the MEC’s duty to ensure there was a rational relationship between the amount of money spent and the benefits expected to accrue to the taxpayer.

Referring to the R32 million apportioned to functions, Stokes said serious questions could be raised about a number of events that seemed to have little chance of generating a commensurate economic benefit and which included:

• R1,15 million to celebrate the International Day of Co-operatives;

• R1,2 million on the second KZN Youth Economic Summit;

• R1,2 million on Consumer Rights Day.

“MECs must be held accountable for this kind of largesse, which appears to have permeated so many KZN government jamborees.”

But Madlala responded that the amount was spent on the recent two-day Umyezane Conference, which looked at how to fast-track transformation within the maritime sector.

“It was held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre on March 19 and 20.”

• thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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