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Govt defying Gordhan on World Cup tickets - DA

Tim Harris says DTI alone has spent R4,7m on ticket purchases

Numerous national departments defy Gordhan memo on tickets

In defiance of a circular issued by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan warning government departments of the legal ramifications of wasteful, and potentially irregular, expenditure of state funds on World Cup tickets, parliamentary questions released today reveal that three more departments have gone ahead and collectively spent R 5.7 million on tickets for department employees and ‘stakeholders'.

I will be writing to Minister Gordhan to ascertain how he intends to ensure that his colleagues in the national Cabinet comply with his instruction, something that has clearly eluded him so far.

These departments are: the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Tourism and the Department of Science and Technology. Together with the R 5.3 million already spent by the departments of Communication and Public Service and Administration, this brings the total spent on World Cup tickets to R 10.9 million.

The purchase of World Cup tickets by government departments, in many cases to hand out on the basis of patronage, is not an acceptable way for government departments to be spending their budgets, particularly in light of the fact that thousands of South Africans have either been turned away from purchasing tickets, or are unable to afford them.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has rightly labelled the use of state funds on World Cup tickets as wasteful and fruitless expenditure. In a letter I received last week, the Minister was explicit in his recommendation that municipalities, provincial departments and national departments refrain from spending public money on World Cup tickets. He pointed out that such spending contravenes provisions in the Public Finance Management Act and the Code of Conduct for Public Servants.

The letter, dated 7 June, stated:

"Even though the circular [to municipalities from the Treasury] was not sent to national departments, the same principles apply given the provisions regarding financial misconduct, irregular expenditure and fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the Public Finance Management Act as well as the provisions in the Code of Conduct for Public Servants."

At least five government department departments will therefore have a lot to answer for when the Auditor-General concludes his reports for the 2009-2010 financial year. These are:

  • Department of Trade and Industry: R 4 738 960 on approximately 320 tickets (revealed today)
  • Department of Science and Technology: R 25 200 on 10 tickets (revealed today)
  • Department of Tourism: R 918 973 on 180 tickets (revealed today)
  • Department of Public Service and Administration: R 65 400 on 25 tickets (revealed last week)
  • Department of Communications: spent R 5.2 million on 2786 tickets (revealed last week)

This means that national departments now appear to have bought in excess of 3000 tickets. The replies reveal that many of these tickets were distributed to top managers and VIP investors - individuals who could all afford to buy their own tickets in the first place.

Statement issued by the Democratic Alliance member of the select committee on finance, June 14 2010

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