Gauteng MEC slammed for spending over R100 000 on gifts while artists and athletes struggle

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The DA in has slammed the increased spending on corporate gifts by the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation at a time when many artists and athletes in the province are struggling to make ends meet.

The DA said the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation increased its expenditure on corporate gifts by 1804% in the 2020/2021 financial year instead of providing much-needed grants to artists and athletes who lost their livelihoods during the Covid-19 lockdown.

This was revealed by Sports, Arts, Culture, and Recreation MEC Mbali Hlophe in reply to a question by the DA’s Kingsol Chabalala. 

“This money spent on corporate gifts in the 2020/21 financial year could have been used to pay 17 athletes and artists R6,000 each as part of the Covid-19 relief grant,” said Chabalala.

“It could have gone a long way to ease the pressure off artists and athletes during these trying times as the industry has been severely affected by the lockdown restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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According to Hlophe, the department spent R105,725 on corporate gifts for the 2020/21 financial year, 19 times more than the R5,553 spent in the 2018/2019 financial year. No money was spent on corporate gifts in 2019/2020.

“While we understand the importance of corporate gifts, however, considering the social and economic impact of Covid-19, the department should not have overspent on corporate gifts and considering the suffering of residents during this time, the money should have been channelled in accordance with the department’s core mandate,” said Chabalala.

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Source: citizen