Despite Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s cost containment measures, government departments continue to spend vast amounts of money on consultants, travel, catering and entertainment.

In a parliamentary question posed by the DA’s David Maynier, Gordhan said preliminary spending for 2015/16 showed government to has spent altogether R35.2bn on the services of consultants, travel and subsistence as well as on catering and entertainment.

Although state entities managed to save 18% or close to R5.6bn in the period 2015 to 2016 on consultants (in 2014/15 the amount was R30.58bn) the expenditure on travel and accommodation went up by R215.5m, while spending on catering, entertainment and venue rental increased by R58.6m.

Government spent altogether R9.2bn on travel and subsistence costs and R927.4m on catering, entertainment and venue rental in 2015/16.

 

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Maynier said in a statement it’s obvious that Gordhan’s belt-tightening measures is being resisted by ministers and officials who are “too accustomed to the high life”.

“National Treasury needs to identify the big spenders who are undermining these cost containment measures,” he said.

Gordhan introduced measures to curb spending by government ministers by freezing non-critical vacancies of administration and managerial position. These measures would help government to reduce its spending ceiling by R10bn in 2017/18 and by R15bn in 2018/19.