Tough cost-cutting measures for govt


23 October 2013

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has announced a raft of cost-cutting measures in a bid to curb wasteful government consumption, restore confidence in the economy, and reprioritise spending on infrastructure investment and socio-economic development.

Ahead of tabling his 2013 medium term budget policy statement in Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday, Gordhan told journalists that the Cabinet had taken a number of difficult decisions that would send a message to citizens, financial markets and ratings agencies that discipline in managing the country’s public purse was the backbone of economic stability.

Gordhan said public servants would no longer be given credit cards for official and personal use, and that those already in possession of credit cards would be told to discontinue using them with immediate effect.

Other measures would include a limit on the amount spent on ministers’ cars, as well as restrictions on air travel, car hire, accommodation, catering, entertainment and conference budgets.

At the same time, government departments would be instructed to put plans in place to minimise their use of consultants. This comes after the Auditor-General found that a number of government departments had spent billions of rands on consultants.

Gordhan said the measures, which the government plans to introduce by 1 December, would result in billions of rands of savings. This would set the scene for next year’s Budget, which is expected to focus on expenditure on infrastructure investment.