Despite Limpopo being pegged as one of the worst-affected provinces by poverty and escalating unemployment by Statistics SA recently, three provincial departments have spent more than R70 million on catering and travel in the 2016/17 financial year.
Last week, Stats SA identified Limpopo, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal as poor provinces with the majority of their populations living below the breadline.
However, Limpopo’s departments of economic development, environment and tourism; safety, security and liaison; and health stand accused of splurging on expensive holidays, pricey whisky and wines and fancy meals while over two million of the province’s poorest citizens go to bed with empty stomachs.
The Democratic Alliance is seeking answers and has written to the chairperson of the standing committee on public accounts, Snowy Kennedy, to probe the departments.
According to documents seen by The Citizen, the money was spent between April 2016 and March 2017.
In a written reply to the DA, the department of economic development, environment and tourism spent R34 million on travel and R1.8 million on catering.
The document also revealed the department of health spent R32 million on travel and R5 million on catering, while safety, security and liaison spent R8 million on travel and R1.4 million on catering.
“It is clear these departments orchestrated fiscal dumping into travelling and catering expenses to avoid underspending in this financial year,” said DA provincial leader Jacques Smalle yesterday.
“The DA believes this exorbitant and shameful spending must be probed immediately.
“It is scandalous that such huge amounts are wasted within our departments when it was supposed to have contributed towards addressing the woeful state of affairs in Limpopo province by creating job opportunities.
“It’s clear the ANC government in Limpopo ignored the National Treasury department’s belt-tightening measures aimed at departments and public entities.” – firstname.lastname@example.org