Tighten up, goverment urged

Waghied Misbach

Waghied Misbach

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel has urged the government to cut back on unnecessary spending and has called on its departments to save at least R2,3billion over the next three years.

Unveiling the national treasury's spending plans for the coming year, Manuel said yesterday it was likely his message would not make him popular, winning him as many enemies as friends.

"We have sent a strong message to national government about its spending on the kind of populist messages issued before the ANC conference," said Manuel.

Manuel said he did not want to make a judgment about the spending behaviour of his colleagues, but he wanted them to provide leadership on the issue.

He said he was not threatening to take money from government departments.

Savings could come from curbing spending on travel, hotel accommodation and entertainment, he suggested.

Money could also be saved by cutting back on "misplaced branding and communication initiatives, poorly managed consultancy services and related frills".