Government officials spent R1.4 billion on parties, dinners and hotels during lockdown: report

South African government officials, including ministers and deputy ministers, spent more than R1.4 billion on food, accommodation and entertainment over three years, starting in May 2019, when the president Cyril Ramaphosa has taken office.

The political party said information obtained through a series of parliamentary questions revealed that over the past three years – which ordinary citizens have mostly spent in lockdown – the ANC national government has spent on less R1.2 billion in public funds for housing, an additional R157 million for catering, as well as R12 million for entertainment for ministers, deputy ministers and other employees of national ministries.

“To put into perspective the total amount wasted on parties, dinners and hotels – over R1.4 billion – this amount would have been enough to provide school meals to over 250,000 needy children for the whole the duration of their 12-year schooling. “, said the prosecutor.

Biggest spenders

The figures, revealed in responses to parliamentary questions, showed the following:


Ministry of Justice and Corrections – amount spent on food, entertainment and accommodation: R293 million

The DA said that department accounts for nearly a quarter of all taxpayer dollars wasted on luxury goods over the past three years.

“The department spent R285 million on accommodation during a period when most South Africans were locked down and not allowed to travel.”


Departments of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation – the amount spent on catering, entertainment and accommodation: R252 million

The DA said one of the biggest spenders “was South Africa’s own Marie Antoinette”, Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

“Over the past three years, the Human Settlements and Water and Sanitation Departments – which she oversaw for most of that time – spent a total of R252 million. This included over R200 million for accommodation and over R50 million for catering.


Department of Basic Education – the amount spent on catering, entertainment and accommodation: R149 million

The DA noted that the education department has not limited itself to South African destinations by spending almost R120 million on accommodation. “Minister Angie Motshekga, her deputy and her officials have spent an additional R6 million on overseas accommodation.”


Department of Home Affairs – the amount spent on catering, entertainment and accommodation: R149 million

“With South Africa’s home affairs and immigration systems effectively shutting down completely during the lockdown, (Minister) Motsoaledi and his department have spent the last three years racking up the third highest bill for catering, entertainment and accommodation.

“Instead of spending these scarce resources to cut endless lines at home affairs and process immigration applications quickly to reduce the opportunity for populists like Herman Mashaba to fan the flames of xenophobia, Motsoaledi and his fellow department executives instead sipped drinks at taxpayer-funded hotels,” the DA said.

Other departments on the list included the following:

  • Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries – R137 million
  • Department of International Relations and Cooperation – R127 million
  • Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation – R74 million
  • Ministry of Health – R67 million
  • Department of Mineral Resources and Energy – R55 million

Earlier in April, the DA’s civil service and administration spokesman, Leon Schreiber, said the DA was saving South African taxpayers up to R39 million every year after having exerted “relentless pressure” for Parliament to adopt a new travel policy for retired ministers and their deputies.

Schreiber said the AD-inspired travel policy includes the 75% reduction in free flights for government officials, no business class flights and a five-year limit instead of a lifetime. free flights.

Specifically, annual free flights for civil servants and their spouses have been reduced from 72 to 12, and civil servants are only entitled to economy class tickets.


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