The Department of Social Development (DSD) has returned R1.4 billion in unspent funds to the Treasury. This money could have been used to provide 4.2 million children with a child grant for one month or be used to provide 350 000 children with a child grant for a year.
The DSD has also seen fit to spend over R108 million on travel in the last financial year, R96 million of which was spent on domestic travel and R12 million on foreign travel.
This is according to the latest Annual Report.
The DA will approach the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) to investigate this complete misuse of public funds, which should have been used to alleviate poverty and uplift the poor in South Africa.
The DSD’s core mandate is to tackle poverty and inequality, particularly amongst the most vulnerable who have been left to fend for themselves while the Minister trots the globe.
This cannot be allowed to stand when those most vulnerable in society are being left behind by the DSDs inability to properly manage and spend their budgets.
This underspending is shocking but the expenditure on travel is equally so. The DA has, for some time, been trying to get information as to expenditure on foreign travel and have submitted several written questions to Minister Dlamini, yet these questions remain unanswered. The DSD’s Annual Report has now shown why the Minister has been silent.
Minister Dlamini claimed that she and the Department cannot do their jobs if they do not travel. She said further that she had to attend meetings of the United Nations, the African Union, SADC as well as other international meetings. While domestic travel might be warranted, the foreign travel costs of R12 million rand is exorbitant and equates to R1 million per month.
The Minister must account for the failings within her department and DA will continue to fight for those most vulnerable in our society abandoned by the DSD.