Government departments are riding a new kind of gravy train with their catering expenditure, the DA alleged yesterday. Democratic Alliance Chief Whip Watty Watson said replies to questions posed in Parliament showed that the national government’s total catering and entertainment bill since 2007/08 was more than R609.7 million. “This is not what people mean when they say that government should put its money where its mouth is,” Watson said in a statement. “This government would rather splash cash on cocktails and canapes than fund the delivery of basic services…. It’s time for President [Jacob] Zuma to trim the fat and spend public money on the poor,” he said. Watson said the departments with the biggest catering and entertainment bills were international relations
and co-operation at more than R216.8m; police, R113.2m; and justice and constitutional development, R48.9m. Watson said the DA would submit questions to the three departments with the biggest bills to determine the reasons for the huge spending. He said the DA would submit questions to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to find out what steps the Treasury was taking to control wasteful spending on departmental catering and entertainment.