Last month finance minister Nhlanhla Nene tabled his first mid-term budget report in Parliament. Like his predecessor Pravin Gordhan, he asked for departments to take measures to cut down on spending. But his words have not been heeded by all.
Instead of reducing its catering budget, the newspaper reported, the legislature has not only “rejected a motion by the Democratic Alliance (DA) to cut catering expenditure by half”, but has also reportedly more than doubled that budget from R4.5-million in 2013/2014 to R11.5-million for the current financial year. For this cavalier treatment of taxpayers’ money, it is our zero of the week.
The Times reported that the speaker had tried to introduce a more disciplined approach to spending, but was unsuccessful.
“Legislature members are currently treated to full English breakfasts and lunches. If a legislature meeting goes on after 4pm, politicians are treated to platters of finger foods,” the newspaper reported.
A spokesman for the DA said that the speaker attempted to have the catering budget slashed to R5-million, but "she didn't table any kind of mechanism that could be used to cut R5-million." He said the DA proposed that meals be subsidised, rather than provided for free, or that members pay 100% for the kind of catering they want.