DA vows to recoup R20K spent on expensive booze and food, by JB Marks municipal staff

The Beef Boys restaurant in Potchefstroom, where R20000 was spent by officials on booze and food, after a GBV event in August. Picture: Facebook/Beef Boys

The Beef Boys restaurant in Potchefstroom, where R20000 was spent by officials on booze and food, after a GBV event in August. Picture: Facebook/Beef Boys

Published Oct 27, 2022


Johannesburg - The DA in Potchefstroom has vowed to recover over R20 000 - among which R10 000 was spent on alcohol, when 30 staff in the JB Marks Municipality attended a Women’s Month gender-based violence (GBV) event in August.

Over R10 350 of the bill was spent on alcohol including cocktails, whisky, wine, cognac, beers and ciders, while another R8 300 was spent on food including Greek salads, chicken salads, rump steaks, sirloins, lamb chops, beef curry and other platters.

The R20 455 bill was spent at an eatery called Beef Boys Grill, the JB Marks Municipality later revealed.

DA Councillor Chris Hattingh, the constituency head in the JB Marks Municipality, said he had sent questions to Mayor Councillor Gaba Thithiba Ka Qhele probing how taxpayers’ money could be utilised in such a disrespectful manner.

He said the R20 000 bill was paid by one of the officials and was later reimbursed, processed and paid.

In the submitted questions, Hattingh asks if the people who were proceeds of the banquet were employees, if they had submitted leave, if the event was indeed authorised by the municipality, and reasons for authorising the R20 000 reimbursement.

JB Marks Municipality spokesperson Jeanette Tshite said the R20 000 bill was spent when on a Women’s Month event which had “put the focus on gender-based violence”.

The DA had alleged it was a secretary’s day event.

“The event was sanctioned by the relevant acting director. The expenditure incurred for the event was to be specific R20 455.00 inclusive of the tip for the waiter,” she said.

Tshite said the event was a municipal event and thus had to be funded by the municipality, but she admitted that employees consumed “restricted beverages”, referring to alcohol.

She also said the employees did not have to return to work as the event was sanctioned.

“Therefore, the public must not be swayed by the suggestion that people were intoxicated during working hours and abandoned their workstations.

“On the other hand, the matter to be looked into is, who went against policy and bought alcohol as it is not allowed under the current circumstances.

“It may be allowed when there are international guests involved but this will be looked into, and it will not be fair to punish some because of others,” she said.

In a statement, Hattingh said the celebrations had started with just 10 officials and later more than 30 people attended the feast.

“It appears that all caution was thrown to the wind, revellers had a feast on the most expensive dishes and washed it all down with cognac and cocktails. “R8 309.00 was spent on food, R10 350.00 spent on alcohol and drinks,” he said.

Hattingh said service delivery in the municipality was at an all-time low, with Potchefstroom littered with uncollected refuse, potholes, filthy water and raw sewage flowing down streets.

“Yet, municipal officials in true Animal Farm-style went to feast while residents must endure the misery of a collapsed municipality.

“The DA condemns this abuse of position and resources in the strongest terms. This ratepayer-funded feast is nothing but a slap in the face of every single resident from Ikageng to Baillie Park.

“It is also in contravention of municipal cost containment measures as outlined in National Treasury Note 317 of 2019,” he said.

“The DA in JB Marks will ensure that every single cent is recovered,” he said.

The public can be assured that the JB Marks Municipality is very sensitive to the issues which confront women. There are many challenges that women in the workplace face and every effort is made to remove the same challenges and support the fight against GBV.

Meanwhile, the Treasury Note recommends strong restrictions on the application of municipal funds for catering on internal meetings attended by officials, and on social, farewell or team building activities.

It prohibits the utilisation of municipal funds for alcoholic beverages unless the costs are recovered.

On sponsorship, events and catering, the Treasury note states that council may not incur catering expense costs for meetings which are only attended by municipal staff, unless with the approval of the accounting officer.

It also states that a municipality may not incur expenses on alcohol, unless if the municipality recovers costs from the sale of the liquor.

It also says social events may not be funded from the municipality’s budget.