Govt spent R1.5bn on luxuries - DA

2010-07-15 14:07

Cape Town - Since taking office, President Jacob Zuma's government has spent a total of R1.5 billion on luxury cars, five-star hotel accommodation, parties, tickets for sports events and "self-congratulatory" advertising, the DA said on Thursday.

"This kind of spending represents a gross misallocation of public funds," Democratic Alliance national spokesperson Lindiwe Mazibuko told a parliamentary media briefing.

The R1.5bn was R500m more than the figure reported by her party in April this year, she said.

Wasteful Expenditure Monitor

According to the DA's latest Wasteful Expenditure Monitor, released at the briefing, the national department to "waste" the most was public works.

"It spent approximately R99m on upgrades to the residences of public officials when the Zuma administration came into office," the document states.

The document says the most wasteful provincial government, "by quite a large margin", is African National Congress-run KwaZulu-Natal.

"It spent R120.5m on a variety of items, including unnecessary rental space, luxury cars and artwork."

Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu was responsible for the biggest expenditure on cars since April, her department having spent about R7m on four Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

The monitor says the total spent on new vehicles by Zuma's government now totals R65.8m.

The total spent on parties, conferences and similar events now totalled R209m, including R300 000 spent on a party by the Tshwane Metro Council to celebrate executive mayor Gwen Ramokgopa's state of the city address and a gala dinner at the Pretoria city hall.

World Cup tickets

The document also contains details of the millions spent on World Cup tickets by Cabinet members, municipalities and state-owned enterprises.

Trade and industry spent R16.7m, while Eskom spent R12m on tickets.

The total spent on tickets to sporting events was R135.9m.

According to the monitor, the state has also spent R209m on parties and conferences, and a further R241m on "unnecessary property rentals, hotel stays and property renovations".

This included R65m for "upgrades to facilities servicing President Zuma's private home at Nkandla", which came in the form of a helicopter pad, clinic, visitors' centre and parking lot, among others.

It also included the R515 000 spent by Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda on "prolonged stays" at luxury five-star establishments, including Cape Town's Mount Nelson and Twelve Apostles hotels.

'Necessary' expenditure

Asked if a portion of the total R1.5bn spent by government could not be deemed "necessary" expenditure, Mazibuko conceded it could be, but said the scale of government's wasteful spending was such that this "wouldn't make much of a dent" in the total figure.

She said the fact that the total had increased by R500 000 over the past three months was "incredibly depressing", and it appeared that the ANC was ignoring Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's call last year to curb such spending.

According to the Wasteful Expenditure Monitor, "almost all the items of wasteful expenditure tracked... have occurred during the Zuma administration's term in office".