New regulations will cap government spending on travel, booze and more

New regulations will cap government spending on travel, booze and more

- New regulations will soon limit how much municipalities can spend

- It will place caps on expenditure for travel and catering, among others

- The rules will kick in from next month

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Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is introducing several new measures to cut wasteful expenditure by municipalities.

Municipalities will no longer be allowed to spend taxpayers' money on things such as travel, credit cards, catering and alcohol.

These regulations, which were developed in consultation with with Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, will come into effect from 1 July.

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The new rules will limit local government expenditure in several ways. For example, it will force government officials to use public transport while travelling and will limit the contracting of consults, according to Sowetan Live. 

These regulations have been praised by organisations such as the South African Local Government Association, but some have insisted that the rules should be applied to all levels of government, not just municipalities.

Nevertheless, these new rules make for some much-needed belt-tighening in terms of government spending.

Indeed, wasteful expenditure remains a major issue in South Africa. The Auditor-General's report last year, for example, found that government wasted R296 billion between 2013 and 2018.

However, the regulations have their critics. Tshwane Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa, for one, said that in some cases it will be impractical for government officials to use public transport.

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He says that often public transport is late or does not work, which could be an impediment to government functioning if officials miss meetings or arrive late, has gathered.

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