The amount spent in the last financial year (2012/13) on catering by all provincial departments was R87, 197 million. In contrast the amount spent on staff development was R107, 569 million, according to a DA analysis of the latest annual reports of departments. In a province where departments consistently blame capacity problems for poor service delivery, it is scandalous that almost the same amount is spent on catering as on staff development. In many departments more was spent on catering than on staff development.

We should be developing minds, not stomachs.

Some departments spend more on catering than on staff development. For example, Local Government (catering R3,446 million; staff development R1,786 million), Social Development (catering R7, 017 million: staff development R3,638 million), Office of the Premier (catering R4, 942 million: staff development R1, 103 million) and Legislature (catering RR6, 889 million: staff development R1, 401 million). For the analysis, click here:

Comparison catering & development

The Department of Education spent a whopping R39, 44 million on catering and R40, 347 million on staff development.

All these figures illustrate that provincial departments have got their priorities wrong. This province requires a highly capacitated civil service that can deliver quality services. This is the only way we will create the right environment that is conducive to job creation and eradicating poverty and inequality.

I will be asking follow-up questions to the different departments to ascertain what the nature of the catering expenditure was. In the light of the expenditure that was exposed around the Premier of the Northern Cape, who spent R53 159 on take-aways in 10 weeks, we will specifically be asking what was spent in the Eastern Cape at franchised fast food outlets and restaurants.