Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan says cabinet is fully behind the bid to cut the frills when it comes to their travel, use of state credit cards and luxury accommodation.
Speaking at a briefing before delivering his 2014 budget, Gordhan said that this measure was already paying off and is part of a series of cost containment measures that cabinet “was very serious” about.
Gordhan dismissed suggestions that his cost cutting on luxury cars and entertainment for politicians and senior bureaucrats had met with resistance.
“There has been no blowback. In fact budget documents confirm how expenditure on travel, catering, consultants and other administrative payments had declined as a shareof spending.”
He said it had not been his decision alone.
“It was a decision taken by cabinet. It was the right thing to do and the market response has been quite fascinating,” said Gordhan who added that when hotels and guest houses got wind of the decision to limit stays at their establishments to R1,300 a night they called to say that this would be the price they would offer as opposed to the higher prices they had charged previously.
Though Gordhan said that he would still have to check if all state credit cards had been cut up as instructed last year, the measures to limit entertainment travel that announced last year were part of a spending efficiency drive.
Gordhan’s 2014 budget states that National Treasury and the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation has also launched a series of
expenditure reviews which will provide insight into how government can get more value for money in big spending departments such as education and health.
While provincial spending patterns will also be analysed, national treasury’s chief procurement officer is also building a national system for the purchase of high-value goods and services commonly used across government. Reforms will simplify procurement procedures, strengthen accountability and improve government’s ability to detect corruption and maladministration.
New regulations will also force state owned entities to comply with more stringent reporting requirements for expenditure, revenue and performance.