Zuma team accused of wasting billions
Cape Town - Government under President Jacob Zuma has "frittered away" nearly R4bn on "self-indulgent purchases" since the start of his administration, the Democratic Alliance claimed on Monday.
Briefing the media at the re-launch of her party's Wasteful Expenditure Monitor - now rebranded as the Every Rand Counts Campaign - DA national spokesperson Lindiwe Mazibuko said her party had identified "wasteful and fruitless expenditure" across seven "key" categories.
"Our calculations reveal nearly R4bn misspent on self-indulgent purchases by government members who have chosen to serve themselves rather than the people."
But responding to a question, she said the exact figure of R3 828 810,000 was actually the "entire total" spent by government across the seven categories.
Hotel stays, cars, entertainment
The categories included: advertising; hotel stays and property renovations; vehicles purchased for politicians; entertainment; tickets for sporting events; items of wasteful expenditure identified in financial audits; and "other waste".
Asked how much of the R3.8bn spending was unavoidable and justifiable - given that politicians needed vehicles, and spending on hotel stays, entertainment and property renovations were often legitimate expenses of government - Mazibuko said she could not give a figure.
"I can't do that because there are some departments that are bigger culprits than others. And there are some ministers who are bigger culprits than others... Of the people we have been able to identify, this is how much has been spent.
"The right answer is that wasteful expenditure should be a drop in the ocean... If we were to try and identify a reasonable sum for each government department to spend, it would have to go category by category.
"And things like hotels and parties, there should be no spending on those things - it's not necessary," she said.
The biggest part of the R3.8bn, an amount of almost R2.9bn, comes from the DA's "other waste" category, which, according to the party, includes "Cuban debt-forgiveness and money to Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe".
Asked how much of this total was actual waste by a ministry, Mazibuko said it was "about a third".
Among other things, the DA is calling for government to restrict what it calls excessive spending.
Its campaign, the third time the party has released such figures since July 2009, is also being launched online at www.everyrandcounts.org.