By Political Bureau

Three parastatals and a government department have spent more than R5 million on World Cup tickets, with the SABC splurging R3.3m on more than 2 000 tickets.

This was revealed in a parliamentary reply yesterday from Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda to a question from the Democratic Alliance.

The signal regulator Sentech spent R1.7m on 96 tickets, while the SA Post office bought 500 tickets for R800 000 and the Department of Public Service and Administration spent R65 400 on 25 tickets.

The DA expressed anger over the issue.

"How these tickets will be allocated has not been explained. Instead, the parliamentary reply from the minister of communications attempts to hide behind the claim that 'identified groups of stakeholders or representatives thereof' will benefit. What that means is anyone's guess," DA MP Niekie van den Berg said.

"The question is why those who are well placed to be able to afford tickets are now getting state-subsidised tickets, when many ordinary South Africans have been unable to get tickets.

"If anyone should be getting state-subsidised tickets, it is poor South Africans who cannot afford them. Those who can afford tickets should pay their way to the matches; they should not get them free from the state, via the SABC or any other state entity," Van den Berg added.

He said the SABC's R3m "on more than 2 000 tickets" could not be justified, "given that entity's current financial status".

"In 2009, the SABC received a R1.4 billion guarantee from the National Treasury. The guarantee was awarded with the condition that the SABC would institute cost-cutting measures."

The DA said that in issuing the directive preventing municipalities from buying World Cup tickets, the National Treasury classified the expenditure on World Cup tickets as irregular, as well as fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

The National Treasury indicated that any official permitting such expenditure would be liable for it and could face charges for financial misconduct.

"The DA will today in Parliament issue a member's statement requesting that the National Treasury institute proceedings to scrutinise all purchases of World Cup tickets at national, provincial and local level," the DA said.