Govt forks out R6m for tickets

THE government has spent another R6million on tickets for the World Cup, openly defying Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's directive not to do so.

THE government has spent another R6million on tickets for the World Cup, openly defying Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's directive not to do so.

South African Tourism and the Department of Trade and Industry have bought tickets for their staff.

SA Tourism has spent R918000 on 180 World Cup tickets - at an average of R5100 each. One hundredof the tickets were dished out to staff. The Department of Trade and Industry spent a whopping R4738960 on 320 tickets, meaning that each ticket cost almost R15000.

The Department of Science and Technology spent R25200 on 10 tickets.

Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said that SA Tourism staff had been given 100 tickets paid for from a "staff fund" in recognition of their hard work on the World Cup.

Last week, Gordhan said he had not withdrawn a circular against using municipal funds to buy World Cup tickets. The circular advised municipalities to refrain from using municipal funds to buy World Cup tickets and T-shirts for councillors and their spouses and municipal officials "as this was in contravention of the legislation".

The circular followed news that the SABC had spent R3,3million on tickets. Signal regulator Sentech spent R1,7million on 96 tickets, while the SA Post Office had spent R800000 on 500 tickets, according to a reply in Parliament by Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda.

He said directors-general could be instructed to pay the money back. DA MP Tim Harris said the government should have spared a thought for the "thousands of South Africans who have either been turned away from purchasing tickets, or are unable to afford them".

"Many of these tickets were distributed to top managers and VIP investors who could all afford to buy their own tickets," he said.

The Independent Democrats and Cope said staff who received tickets must pay the money back.

"The call for austerity measures was not heeded by these departments. They behave as if our country is not in a recession," said ID leader Patricia de Lille.

Cope MP Phillip Dexter said: "Those who got tickets must pay this money back."

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