Premier’s department spent R130m on consultancy services over seven years
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Cape Town - The department of the premier had spent over R130 million on consultants and advisory services in the last seven years, Premier Alan Winde said.
Winde was answering a written question from the leader of the opposition in the legislature, Cameron Dugmore (ANC), who had asked him for a detailed breakdown of the department’s expenditure on consultants since the 2014/15 financial year.
Dugmore had also asked for the details of the businesses or individuals who rendered consultancy, business and advisory services as well as the total amount that was paid to each.
A set of tables Winde provided with his answer showed that during the 2019/20 financial year, one of the largest amounts, R1.3 million was paid to advertising agency FCB which carried out Covid-19 communications campaign research for the department. FCB also earned a separate R38 000 for a media monitoring campaign.
The South African Medical Research Council earned R300 000 for advice on the alcohol harms reduction strategy, while Alexander Forbes, which gave advice on health risk management, earned R728 000.
In the current financial year 2020/21, the biggest payout has been R8.4m which went to FCB for telephone polling research carried out across the province. For similar work a company listed as LS Communications earned R4.1m.
Meanwhile the standing committee on the department of the premier and constitutional matters received the first quarter performance briefing of the 2021/22 financial year from the department yesterday.
Provincial government director general Harry Malila said: “Overall, the department achieved 87% or 39 out of 45 indicators of its targets for the first quarter with more focus being placed on managing risk in non-financial performance management through early identification.
“Spending is largely on track and no spending risks have been identified,” said Malila.
Asked by committee member Peter Marais (FF Plus) about whether provincial government staff working from home during the lockdown could claim from SARS, Malila said SARS had issued a directive allowing such staff to claim certain expenditure through their personal income tax processes.
Malila also said mental health issues had been at the top of the agenda for the provincial government over the last 18 months and the department was in the process of employing honours graduate interns in the field of mental health to support the province’s employees.
Committee chairperson Ricardo Mackenzie (DA) said: “I welcome the mental health support offered by the department to the 80 000 Western Cape Government employees, including a dedicated call centre opened 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
“This call centre is critical in supporting the mental health of provincial government staff so that they can serve the six million people of the Western Cape.”