DA condemns GP Arts & Culture dept's 'disturbing' spending of R100k on gifts

While scores of artists continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic and the tremendous financial impact it’s had, the DA said there are still many artists and athletes in the province who are struggling to make ends meet.

Gauteng Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation Department MEC Mbali Hlophe. Picture: Gauteng Government Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has criticised the Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation Department for increasing its expenditure on corporate gifts in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to MEC Mbali Hlophe, the department has spent over R105,000 on corporate gifts for the 2020-2021 financial year, 19 times more than the R5,553 rand spent in the 2018/19 financial year.

This information was revealed by the Hlophe in a written reply to questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

While scores of artists continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic and the tremendous financial impact it’s had, the DA said there are still many artists and athletes in the province who are struggling to make ends meet.

As part of the COVID-19 relief fund, the party believes the money spent on corporate gifts could have been used to pay R6,000 rand each to 17 athletes and artists.

The DA’s Kingsol Chabalala said the lack of consideration and sympathy by the department in terms of priorities was unacceptable.

“We find it disturbing that the department spent so much money on corporate gifts while we are faced with serious challenges in the wake of the global pandemic. This money could have been better used to assist athletes and artists in the province who are struggling to make ends meet.”

Chabalala said the party would not hesitate to hold the MEC to account for department funds to be allocated according to priorities.