Premier’s office blows millions on laptops and cell phones for senior officials

Issued by Kobus Botha, MPL
Office of the Premier portfolio committee member

At a time when millions of South Africans are battling financially and the Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, has repeatedly called for cost-cutting measures, the Office of the Premier has blown millions on laptops and cell phones.

Not only has the Premier’s office blown R1,5 million on new laptops for officials in the last financial year, up from R930 000 the year before, they also spent over R5,7 million on cell phone contracts, nearly double the R2,9 million spent the year before.

I am challenging the Premier to put an immediate stop to this wasteful expenditure!

In response to a parliamentary question, Premier Oscar Mabuyane confirmed that his office had spent over R77 000 on one laptop.

In fact, while nearly half the province is unemployed, the Premier’s office blew R235 00 on just six laptops in the last financial year!

Over the past four financial years, they have spent in close on R4,7 million on laptops and close on R13,35 million on cell phone contracts.

The Premier should be setting the example for cost-cutting, not splashing out on extravagant laptops and runaway cell phone contracts.

See: IQP response

One can appreciate that procurement needs to take place and that the necessary tools need to be provided to officials so that they are able to execute their duties and deliver services.

However, serious questions need to be asked about this extravagant expenditure and whether there were no alternative, more cost-effective options available.

This money could have been better utilised to provide further assistance to departmental programmes, geared towards the creation of jobs.

I will be writing to the Premier to request that he spells out how this expenditure complies with the Departmental policy of replacing laptops every three to five years, and what the reasons are for the extravagant spending on high-end laptops. His office must also review the runaway costs of cell phone contracts.

Government needs to ensure that the funds entrusted to them by the public are spent in such a way that the public receives the best value for their money.