Anthony Benadie, MPL
DA Provincial Leader
The DA notes with interest the replies provided by the ANC Provincial Chief Whip, Mr Johan Mkhatshwa and Spokesman Ms Zamagambu Memela-Gamede alternatively in the Lowelder and Mpumalanga News last week with regards to the R10 million spent on catering in the Legislature.
It raises serious red flags about the legitimacy of our Legislature when Chief Whip, Mr Mkhatshwa and his party can reject a motion to cut catering costs in Legislature based only on the precipice that the DA are using this to win public political support. Mr Mkhatshwa allegedly stated “At best, we successfully rejected the DA posturing of opportunism and at worst we rejected the abuse of privilege committee information to harvest public political support through media and the sittings of the legislature in party.”
One can only surmise that the Honourable Chief Whip and his ANC comrades believe that the information pertaining to how much Legislature spent in order to fill their stomachs, must be kept secret from the very taxpayers who are paying for it with their hard earned money.
Furthermore, Spokesman Ms Memela-Gamede said in a statement this week that Legislature spent R9.9 million on public participation and involvement in 2013/14 financial year, including seven sectorial parliaments, and taking Legislature to the people – creating the impression that members only used R900 000 of the total amount for food. Below is an excerpt from the Legislature Annual report indicating clearly that “catering” and “Communication and Public Participation” are allocated separate budgets.
The fact of the matter is despite all the ANC’s shenanigans and side-stepping of the actual issue, no steps have been put in place to curtail expenditure on catering in the Mpumalanga Legislature. The hard working residents of Mpumalanga are still going to have to pay in order to keep the members in Legislature fed on a daily basis.
The DA will not back down in our fight and will write to the Hon. Speaker, Ms BT Shongwe to request that should she not be willing to institute our recommendations for subsidised meals, that as a last resort, meals for members be gazetted at a fixed rate per meal to ensure that stronger control measures are in place moving forward.