R9,1 million on food and entertainment: Limpopo’s departments priorities aren’t right

By Langa Bodlani MPL, DA Limpopo Legislature Whip:

Entertainment and catering for politicians and officials seem to be a major concern for Limpopo’s Roads and Transport and LEDET Departments as they have spent over R9.1 million in the past three financial years on these non-essential items.

This exorbitant cost on non-essentials arises in the context of escalating violent protests in the province over poor road infrastructure and unemployment; the two core mandates of these departments. As the departments fail to deliver, they make sure to line their own stomachs instead.

This was revealed in replies to written questions submitted by DA.

The DA will now table a motion for the Legislature to debate this waste of public money.

With slow growth in the local economy, government’s expenditure must surely be focused on service delivery priorities which improve the quality of lives of our people, instead of entertaining and feeding itself first.

The provincial treasury is on record that it is supposed to be implementing cost-containment measures, and “austerity measures” are now government’s mantra – but the truth on the ground is a very different story.

Between 2013 and 2015 the Department of Transport alone spent more than R2.5 million on entertainment and catering.

I am greatly concerned that LEDET’s current spending on these frivolous expenses is increasing, and not decreasing. R2.5 million for 2015/16 financial year is budgeted, which is up from R1.9 million in 2014/15.

This means that Limpopo’s departments care more about their costly food and lavish entertainment than they do about serving the needs of the people.