DA calls on Parly to look into Cup tickets splurge

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it will ask Parliament to call to

account government officials responsible for wasting millions in taxpayers’

money buying Soccer World Cup tickets.

About R130 million has been spent so far on tickets by government

departments, parastatals and municipalities. This figure is likely to rise as

more information comes into the public domain about how much departments and

parastatals have splurged on tickets for the tournament ending tomorrow.

Among the biggest spenders are South African Airways, the

Independent Development Corporation and the Department of Trade and

Industry.

Greg Krumbock, the DA’s shadow minister for tourism, said his party

would “ask through Parliament that individuals should be made to appear before

(oversight) committees” to account for the expenditure.

Earlier, Minister Trevor Manuel, who is responsible for the

National Planning Commission in the Presidency, defended parastatals for

splurging.

State-owned businesses, the minister suggested, needed to build

relationships with their clients.

However, Krumbock said the minister’s suggestion was “spin and

obfuscation” as parastatals did not need to spend millions on tickets for their

clients.

Themba Godi, chairperson of Parliament’s Standing Committee on

Public Accounts, said he had written to Terence Nombembe, the Auditor-General,

asking him to highlight the expenditure on soccer tickets in his reports on the

finances of government departments.

The annual reports will be submitted to Parliament towards the end

of the year.

“We want that when reports get to Parliament we can be able to ask

for accountability. According to the Public Finance Management Act, fruitless

and wasteful expenditure is illegal. From where we are standing there is no

value for money in the buying of World Cup tickets,” Godi said.

He added that where there is wasteful expenditure, accounting

officers should take disciplinary steps against the culprits or recover the

money.

“World Cup or no World Cup, the laws of this country need to be

observed. If we pick and choose when to observe laws, we will reduce ourselves

to the status of a banana republic,” he said.

 
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