Sbu Ndebele has confirmed that his department spent money to but staff members Fifa World Cup T-shirts when they were here. Photo: Terry Haywood

The Department of Transport spent just short of R150 000 on promotional material, including hats, during the World Cup but the biggest spender was a transport agency, Airports Company South Africa (Acsa), which spent nearly R2 million on T-shirts for 2 500 of its staff members.

This emerged in reply this week by Transport Minister S’bu Ndebele to a parliamentary question by DA transport spokesman Stuart Farrow.

Transport entities spent nearly R20m on tickets and a total of R2.8m on promotional material – a combined total of more than R22m.

“Some of the department’s promotional materials were distributed to members of the staff during the World Cup countdown events and others were distributed as promotional gifts to external stakeholders during events,” the minister said.

Farrow said although relatively limited amounts were spent by the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa), the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) and the Road Accident Fund (RAF), one had to ask whether these entities – characterised by insolvency in the cases of the RTMC and the RAF and financial difficulties at Prasa – should have spent anything at all.

However, Farrow said it was questionable whether R2.1m should have been spent on Acsa staff, including R150 000 on vuvuzelas, R63 000 on tournament booklets and R1.9m on Bafana Bafana replica shirts when only R56 400 was spent on “stakeholder” relations – including R19 800 on vuvuzelas, R28 600 on scarves and beanies.

“One would have thought the stakeholders were more important.”

Altogether R195 was spent per head on 170 “stakeholders”, who were not named, while R856 was spent on each Acsa staff member.

Farrow said although Acsa was responsible for the completion of the airports around the country in time for the World Cup and its staff were in the front line at airports for incoming visitors, the spending seemed disproportionate.

In Ndebele’s reply, he said through this strategic priority, the company “is ensuring that every Acsa employee” lived the company values “of pride”, which meant passion, integrity diversity and excellence, “by continually informing, motivating and exciting its employees”. Altogether Acsa spent R2.2m on staff and stakeholders.

Ndebele, responding to a question earlier this year, said the Transport Department itself did not purchase any tickets for the World Cup. However, certain transport entities had collectively spent R19m on match tickets.

Prasa spent R10.8m, Acsa spent R4.6m – taking its total on World Cup promotion to R6.8m – the SA Maritime Safety Authority spent R2.2m and the Air Traffic and Navigation Services spent R1.4m.

While the RTMC spent only R727 in total and the RAF just R53 700, Prasa spent a more considerable R244 000, including R111 000 on vuvuzelas and fleece blankets and R40 000 on luggage tags and keyrings.

The minister said Prasa was a national supporter of the soccer tournament and had provided “integrated passenger transport services including commuter rail, long distance passenger rail and bus services to the Fifa family and the local organising committee”.

Flag brochures costing R19 000 were issued to the 15 000 employees, but the rest of the goods were provided to “stakeholders”, media and other dignitaries, Ndebele said.

The SA Maritime Safety Authority spent R220 000 on jerseys, vuvuzelas, flags and soccer balls.

The bulk of these were used to dress up its participants for the Morning Live broadcast on SABC2 on board the vessel Sarah Baartman.

The SA National Roads Agency – which administers toll roads – spent R109 000 on World Cup T-shirts for staff and board members.