Gordhan could have slashed R1.1bn wasteful spend from budget - MP

2016-10-28 12:35 - Fin24
Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan (Netwerk24) ~ Netwerk24

Cape Town – There is more than R1bn of wasteful expenditure hidden in the medium-term budget Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivered on Wednesday, Democratic Alliance spokesperson on finance David Maynier said in a statement on Friday. 

“Careful scrutiny of the 2016/17 adjusted estimates of expenditure,” said Maynier, “reveals shocking levels of wasteful expenditure.” 

According to Maynier, the adjusted budget makes provision for a number of unnecessary and wasteful items, including: 

- a new ministerial vehicle for Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies costing close to R1.72m;

- two new ministerial vehicles for Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa costing about R3m; 

- a new ministerial vehicle for Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Buti Manamela amounting to about R1.97m; and

- new ministerial vehicles for the Ministry of Communications and Ministry of Public Service and Administration totalling close to R3.38m.

Maynier’s analysis of the 2016/17 adjusted budget also reveals spending on the following: 

- R950m on “foreign missions” for the international relations and cooperation department; 

- R95.97m on “leasing transport aircraft” for the defence department;

- R47.28m on “guarding services” for the defence department; 

- R32.03m for “cellphones and data contracts” for the labour department; 

- R18.5m for “ministerial travel and outreach” at the social development department; 

- R11m for “VIP protection services” at the police department; 

- R2.1m for “legal fees” at the presidency;

- R1m for “office equipment for the minister” at the labour department; 

- R600 000 for the “replacement of office furniture” for the labour department’s attaché in Geneva; and 

- R1 000 for a “traffic fine” at the public enterprises department. 

According to Maynier, expenditure on these items comes down to R10.07m on new ministerial vehicles.

“With proper maintenance, existing vehicles would probably last over the medium term,” he said. 

“It is also not necessary to spend R950m more on foreign missions when many of them serve no purpose other than to support retired cadres. And it’s not necessary to spend R47.28m employing private security companies to guard defence force facilities when the army is awash with soldiers who have nothing to do.” 

Fin24 earlier reported that government departments continued to spend vast amounts of money on consultants, travel, catering and entertainment in the 2015/16 financial year, despite Gordhan’s stringent cost containment measures. 

Altogether R35.2bn was spent on consultants, travel and subsistence as well as catering and entertainment. 

Maynier said in his statement the DA intends to "strongly oppose" the more than R1.18bn of "wasteful expenditure" identified, and will propose amendments to the the adjusted budget in Parliament. 

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