Johannesburg - The Department of Public Service and Administration is spending nearly R500 000 on office plants and flowers.

It has signed deals to spend R452 221 on the hiring and maintenance of office plants, and another R30 370 on silk flowers – a total of R482 591.

Both contracts run over three years. That’s more than R13 400 a month.

The department recently signed a wage agreement on a 7 percent increase for public servants, after weeks of dispute when the department told unions that the government couldn’t afford their higher demands.

The office plants contract went to Mologadi A’Ngoalengwe Construction and Projects, and the silk flowers will be provided by Rentokil Initial.

The expenditure was over three years and was “in line with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, which requires for an employer to provide an environment that is conducive to employee health and wellness”, said department spokesman Dumisani Nkwamba.

“The department has an employee health and wellness programme in place which puts emphasis on the creation of an environment that enhances and inspires productivity.

“Employee health and wellness is essential in any working environment as it boosts morale, improves health and fitness, and increases productivity,” said Nkwamba. - The Star