Amid reports of children dying from starvation in the Eastern Cape, and with large parts of KwaZulu-Natal without food or water following the failure by the ANC to put adequate disaster relief plans in place, the DA today reveals that 18 ANC Ministers, Deputy Ministers and their departments spent over R1.4 billion on catering, entertainment and accommodation since President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government took office on 19 May 2019.

While millions of South Africans go to bed hungry, ANC cadres kept on partying on taxpayer money all throughout lockdown.

New information obtained by the DA through a series of parliamentary questions reveals that during the past three years – which ordinary citizens mostly spent under lockdown – the ANC national government spent at least R1.2 billion in public money on accommodation, another R157 million on catering, as well as R12 million on entertainment for Ministers, Deputy Ministers and other cadres employed by national government departments.

To put the total amount wasted on parties, dinners and hotels – over R1.4 billion – into perspective: this amount would have been enough to provide school meals to over 250 000 needy children for the entire duration of their 12-year school career.

The biggest spenders

The DA’s questions sought to establish how much each Minister, Deputy Minister and Department had spent on accommodation, catering and entertainment during the last three years of unprecedented hardship for most South Africans. The results revealed that the following ministers and departments lived it up the most during lockdown:

  1. Ronald Lamola’s department of justice and correctional services

Amount spent on catering, entertainment and accommodation: R293 million

This department – which has overseen the collapse of the National Prosecuting Authority and was exposed as the posterchild for BOSASA corruption by the State Capture Commission – accounts for nearly a quarter of all taxpayer money wasted on luxuries over the past three years. The department spent an eye-watering R285 million on accommodation during a period when most South Africans were locked down and not allowed to travel.

  1. Lindiwe Sisulu’s former departments of human settlements, water and sanitation

Amount spent on catering, entertainment and accommodation: R252 million

As we’ve come to expect, one of the biggest spenders of all was South Africa’s own Marie Antoinette, Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. Over the past three years, the departments of human settlements and water and sanitation – which she oversaw for most of that period – blew a combined R252 million. This included over R200 million for accommodation and over R50 million for catering.

  1. Angie Motshekga’s department of basic education

Amount spent on catering, entertainment and accommodation: R149 million

In third place is the basic education department, which did not limit itself to South African destinations in spending nearly R120 million on accommodation. Minister Angie Motshekga, her deputy and officials altogether spent an additional R6 million on foreign accommodation.

  1. Aaron Motsoaledi’s department of home affairs

Amount spent on catering, entertainment and accommodation: R149 million

With South Africa’s home affairs and immigration systems having effectively ground to a complete halt during lockdown, Motsoaledi and his department spent the past three years racking up the third highest bill for catering, entertainment and accommodation. Instead of spending these scarce resources on reducing the never-ending queues at Home Affairs and speedily processing immigration applications to reduce the scope for populists like Herman Mashaba to fan the flames of xenophobia, Motsoaledi and his fellow cadres in the department instead sipped drinks at hotels on taxpayer dime.

  1. Barbara Creecy’s department of forestry, fisheries and the environment

Amount spent on catering, entertainment and accommodation: R137 million

In fourth place is the department that has failed to do its job by allocating fishing rights permits to many traditional fishing communities. While many fishers struggle to put food on the table for their families due to Creecy’s department’s negligence and incompetence, ANC cadres spent over R11 million on catering and R126 million on accommodation.

  1. Naledi Pandor’s department of international relations and cooperation

Amount spent on catering, entertainment and accommodation: R127 million

Next comes Naledi Pandor’s department, which not only failed morally when it disgracefully sided with Vladimir Putin’s regime, but also directly imperilled South Africa’s economic relationship with our biggest trading partners in Europe and the United States by refusing to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But Pandor and her fellow cadres are apparently blissfully unaware of the rapidly declining state of the economy, as they spent nearly R10 million on entertainment, R7 million for catering and R110 million for accommodation – most likely including parties celebrating the Russian army.

  1. Blade Nzimande’s department of higher education, science and innovation

Amount spent on catering, entertainment and accommodation: R74 million

When Nzimande and his departmental cadres aren’t busy collapsing NSFAS and trying to classify Afrikaans as well as Khoi and San languages as “foreign,” they can be found lazing about the hotel pool to the tune of R54 million. Destroying our higher education system is apparently also hungry work, as Nzimande and his department spent a combined R17 million on catering.

  1. Zweli Mkhize’s health department

Amount spent on catering, entertainment and accommodation: R67 million

In addition to the role he played in the corrupt Digital Vibes contract, disgraced former health minister Zweli Mkhize – who was in charge of the health department during most of the lockdown – also oversaw wastage of R59 million on accommodation and over R8 million on catering while other South Africans were locked down.

  1. Gwede Mantashe’s department of mineral resources and energy

Amount spent on catering, entertainment and accommodation: R55 million

While continuing to subject South Africans to worsening bouts of electricity blackouts through his refusal to allow the rapid procurement of additional generation capacity, Gwede Mantashe and his fellow cadres could probably rely on generators during their numerous stays at hotels during the lockdown years – which cost taxpayers over R53 million.

Rounding out this dishonourable list is Fikile Mbalula’s transport department (R34 million), Ayanda Dlodlo’s public service and administration department (R26 million), Patrica de Lille’s public works and infrastructure department (R22 million), and Stella Ndabeni-Abraham’s small business department (R12 million).

Basic EducationR29 794 610,20R196 667,22R119 866 182,00R149 857 459,42
FinanceR1 901 521,93R85 174,55R9 757 900,19R11 744 596,67
Forestry, Fisheries and the EnvironmentR11 139 328,75R27 117,95R126 661 271,12R137 827 717,82
International Relations and CooperationR7 686 544,39R9 608 620,06R110 296 510,47R127 591 674,92
Human SettlementsR47 306 107,81R166 708,04R33 931 193,12R81 404 008,97
Justice and Correctional ServicesR8 190 700,11R9 731,70R285 257 912,71R293 458 344,52
Mineral Resources and EnergyR1 796 721,43R888,90R53 463 221,09R55 260 831,42
Public Service and AdministrationR4 788 000,00R4 000,00R21 274 000,00R26 066 000,00
Trade, Industry and CompetitionR76 162,00R10 556,00R0,00R86 718,00
TransportR5 391 597,00R426 872,00R28 503 395,00R34 321 864,00
Public EnterprisesR238 155,20R949,00R4 895 479,83R5 134 584,03
Home AffairsR3 131 959,00R335 889,00R145 630 915,00R149 098 763,00
Water and SanitationR4 491 000,00R470 000,00R166 484 000,00R171 445 000,00
Small Business DevelopmentR1 103 063,54R1 339,60R11 224 491,03R12 328 894,17
Higher Education, Science and InnovationR17 242 779,46R284 868,22R57 175 314,77R74 702 962,45
HealthR8 075 000,00R8 000,00R59 289 000,00R67 372 000,00
Public Works and InfrastructureR5 070 900,89R224 117,00R16 319 208,10R21 614 225,99
Women, Youth and People with DisabilitiesR78 629,45R0,00R1 333 613,15R1 412 242,60
TOTALR157 502 781,16R11 861 499,24R1 251 363 607,58R1 420 727 887,98
Sports, Arts and CultureRefused to answer
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Dr Leon Schreiber MP

Dr Leon Schreiber MP is the DA (Democratic Alliance) Shadow Minister for Public Service and Administration

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