Bhisho blows R429m on travel, accommodation: The Herald

FLYING in the face of calls by the National Treasury for tighter money controls and austerity measures, the Eastern Cape government spent R429.5-million on accommodation and travel in the past financial year, the highest figure for this among all provinces.

Delivering a speech during the budget vote debate of the Provincial Planning and Treasury Department yesterday, DA MPL Bobby Stevenson said core business had to be prioritised over consumption. “When it comes to expenditure on accommodation and travel, the Eastern Cape has the highest expenditure of all the provinces in South Africa. A whopping R429.561-million was spent by the Eastern Cape in the last financial year on accommodation and travel, out of a total of R1.687-billion for the entire country.

“Even KwaZulu-Natal, which is a bigger province than ours, only spent R319-million compared to our R429-million.

“This contrasts with Gauteng which spent R60.848-million and the Western Cape which spent R74.239-million. It is obvious that the Eastern Cape is spending far too much on accommodation and travel and that National Treasury pronouncements in this regard are simply being ignored.

“The controls need to be tightened up and financial discipline enforced in the departments.”

Bhisho forked out about 65% of its budget on staff, the majority of whom were administrative staff and core staff such as teachers, doctors, engineers and nurses.

Stevenson said departments “don’t have sufficient skills and expertise to determine whether or not a tender submitted is of fair value”. It cost the province R11.6-million to build a kilometre of road, whereas in Gauteng it was R1.9-million a kilometre.