19 October 2012

Government fails to deliver services while spending millions on catering

Records released to SAHA reveal that the Departments of Health, Environmental Affairs and Transport spent a combined total of R57 million on catering for the 2010/2011 financial year and a further R92 million in 2011/2012.

The records were released pursuant to requests made by SAHA under the Promotion of Access to Information Act to probe government spending. SAHA requested information regarding departmental spending on catering, air travel, accommodation, meeting venues, security, vehicles and office space for the 2010/11 and 2011/12 years.

Put into a service delivery perspective, the 2011/12 combined expenditure could have:
• maintained and refurbished 15 clinics
• fed 50,000 school going children for six months
• built 100 new houses
• trained 100 communities on subsistence farming and sustainable development
• paved 125 km of road

(Statistics from UNDP Africa Human Development Report)

The thirty percent increase in this expenditure is just an example of how government departments are increasingly spending their budgets on non-essentials. This increase in spending is not unique to the catering budget line item, it is a trend that can be observed throughout air travel, accommodation, meeting venues and others.

Download the released records: AL2878 - Freedom of Information Programme Collection