‘Costs could’ve been saved by better planning’
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma’s office has come under fire from the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) for failing to plan properly, which led to the Presidency racking up a bill of R28 million in unauthorised expenditure for Zuma’s trips and salaries for extra staff.
Deputy director-general in the Presidency Busani Ngcaweni said the unauthorised expenditure for 2010/11 had been due to unforeseen circumstances.
It included trips Zuma undertook to mediate in Libya and Central African Republic and attending the Brics summits. Zuma had also created an additional Ministry of Planning in the Presidency, which needed staff.
A total of R20m was spent on goods and services, and these included foreign and local trips by Zuma, as well as lawsuits against him. His office paid R8.1m in salaries for his expanded office.
DA MP Alf Lees said the explanation was unsound and the issues had been fudged.
He said that during the transition from the previous administration to the new one in 2009, there could have been budget adjustments for extra costs.
Mkhuleko Hlengwa, of the IFP, said his party wanted a breakdown of the costs, adding “I see no reason why forward planning could not be taken into account.”
Shaik Emam of the National Freedom Party also questioned the lack of planning by the Presidency.
Ngcaweni said they were operating in a complex environment that was difficult to predict at times.
QUESTIONABLE: President Jacob Zuma’s office spent more than its budget.