Nearly R6million spent on two funerals: DA

By Drum Digital
02 April 2012

Two official funerals cost the Gauteng government R5.9 million, the DA in the province claimed on Monday.

"The DA agrees in principle with the decision to have accorded status to the funerals of the two individuals, but it is hard to justify the excessive cost," Democratic Alliance spokesman Mike Moriarty said in a statement.

Provincial government spokeswoman Matlakala Motloung said the allocation of official funerals was determined by the presidency, not at provincial level.

"These are individuals who contributed to the freedoms we enjoy... figures of national stature.

"We cannot measure in monetary terms their contributions," she said.

The funerals were for Henry Mokgothi in April last year and Bertha Gxowa in October 2010.

Moriarty said he had written to premier Nomvula Mokonyane to ask what the guidelines were for the allocation of funds to official funerals.

"According to Mokonyane, the money was paid for official provincial funerals... and included 'costs associated with catering, venue hire and buses'."

The premier's office was unable to provide him with a detailed breakdown of these costs, but told Moriarty that it had "developed norms and standards to ensure that we provide a package of services that is reasonable and expenditure is kept within budgetary provisions".

Moriarty said the DA would ask more questions in an attempt to ensure that future funerals would not exceed reasonable limits.

Motloung said there were measures in place to prevent this.

"As a way forward, we have put a cap on these expenses [and if a funeral] exceeds this cap, we will look at fund raising to cover it," she said.

Motloung said she did not know off-hand what the cap amount was set at.

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