Social Development Minister under fire for R121.5-million expenses

Bathabile Dlamini Picture: Gallo Images / City Press / Elizabeth Sejake
Bathabile Dlamini
Picture: Gallo Images / City Press / Elizabeth Sejake

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini is under fire for her department spending R121.5-million on travel and subsistence expenses after claiming that a social grant of R753 was enough to support an indigent household for a month.

Dlamini said earlier this year‚ in a reply to a parliamentary question‚ that R753 a month was “adequate” for social grant beneficiaries.

The Department of Social Development’s 2015/16 annual report reveals that travel and subsistence expenses for the year amounted to R121.5-million‚ against a budget of R98.6-million and R13-million – or 12% – more than the previous financial year.

Democratic Alliance MP Lindy Wilson said on Wednesday the “outrageous travel and subsistence expenditure is a slap in the face of so many poor South Africans struggling to make a living”.

Dlamini had‚ on several occasions‚ also booked herself into the luxurious Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga‚ near Durban‚ said Wilson.

“Despite written questions asking for a breakdown of the travel costs‚ hotel costs‚ VIP cars and size of delegations by the minister and the deputy minister in the previous financial year‚ the minister only accounted for R2.8-million of the R12-million spent on overseas trips‚” said Wilson.

“Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan made it clear in his presentation of the Budget earlier this year that the major area of reduced expenditure would be travel and subsistence. It would appear that minister Dlamini is not only out of touch with the reality of social grant recipients‚ but also did not get Gordhan’s message.”

Wilson said that there would be some tough questions to answer next week when the department’s report is presented to the Portfolio Committee on Social Development in Parliament.

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