Yesterday, 05 February 2015, the 103 member Democratic Alliance Parliamentary Caucus took a conscious decision not to attend any of Parliament’s pre- and post-State of the Nation Address (SONA) receptions, which are funded by the taxpayer.
I will be writing to the Speaker to inform her of our decision to boycott these events given their wasteful nature.
It cannot be that Members of Parliament (MPs) wine and dine at the expense of the taxpayer, who we represent, when those funds could be better used to deliver quality services to the people of South Africa.
In light of growing dissatisfaction and anger from South Africans in areas like Malamulele, Randfontein and Mogalakwena, to name a few, as well as an electricity crisis that threatens South Africa’s present and future prosperity, there is no reason for MPs, Cabinet and other public officials to celebrate using public funds.
Parliament must serve the needs of the people. The National Assembly must do everything in its power and take the necessary austerity measures to be able to service those who are poor. The budget allocated for SONA of R4 million, and the R13.6 million spent on the two SONA events during 2014, is a fruitless expenditure that could have been utilised in addressing real problems.
As long as 12 million (or 21,5%) South Africans are living in extreme poverty and may go to bed without a meal on Thursday the 12th, lavish dinners funded by the taxpayer are indefensible.
By going ahead with these taxpayer-funded receptions, Parliamentary officials who speak of budget cuts are speaking with a forked tongue.
I call upon other political parties to follow the example of the DA by boycotting receptions funded by the taxpayer. The Fifth Parliament must take a stand against all forms of fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
The needs of our people must always outweigh the needs of those who were elected to serve them.
Issued by Mmusi Maimane MP, DA