Parliament splurges on R3m wine cellar

Cape Town - Thanks to money left over from a Public Works project, Parliament has built a new wine cellar to the tune of R3m and has stocked up on 3 000 bottles of South Africa’s finest.

According to the Sunday Times, MPs will now be able to buy themselves a bottle of Delheim Sauvignon Blanc 2013 or a 2008 Hartenberg Estate Shiraz, under the Speaker’s Choice label, at parliament’s main restaurant for a moderate R33 or R100 a bottle respectively.

However, the rest of the cellar is for VIP occasions only - such as visits by foreign dignitaries. Cape wine master Bennie Howard was roped in to stock the cellar.

R16m spent on catering

In May it was reported that Parliament spent about R16m on food and beverages last year.

Parliament's annual budget for refreshments stands at R18m. This includes tea, coffee, cool drinks and platters of finger food available at committee briefings, Eyewitness News reported.

Parliamentary spokesperson Luzuko Jacobs told EWN that Parliament does not only cater for numerous briefings, but also for major external events such as the Take Parliament to the People programme, which involves catering for over 30 000 people.

However, opposition parties have criticised the amount spent on catering at Parliament as excessive.

"I think it's money wasted. If they want a cool drink, they must buy it themselves," the DA's Watty Watson said, adding that he believes most of the food ends up being wasted.

He said R16m could feed eight million children twice a day for a full year.


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