Cape Town – The DA has said on Thursday that the presidential inauguration ceremony scheduled to take place on May 25 would cost the taxpayers R120 million.
Briefing the media in Parliament, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said the expenditure was despite an assurance given to political parties that the costs for the presidential inauguration and opening session of the sixth Parliament would be kept to an absolute minimum.
Steenhuisen also said Parliament had requested R606m for the 2019 parliamentary inauguration but this was not granted by National Treasury, leaving the national legislature with R8.4m.
"To plug this hole, numerous austerity measures were implemented," he said.
Steenhuisen said the public would now fork out over R120m for the wasteful excesses of the presidential inauguration ceremony.
"While the South African public should be incorporated in the inauguration of a president, it is unconscionable that the presidency will spend hundreds of millions to transport people in taking precious financial resources from local municipalities to find this jamboree."
Steenhuisen said the presidency has instructed provinces to send 2000 municipal delegates to the inauguration at the cost of cash-strapped municipalities.
"Our municipalities should be providing basic services to South Aficans, not bussing delegates to political events. It is incredibly irresponsible for the presidency to redirect monies which could be used to fix potholes, provide water and sanitation to communities, to essentially rent-a-crowd for the inauguration."
He also said President Cyhril Ramaphosa was not committed to ensuring the people come first instead of flashy political events that the public must pay for.
"This is the clearest sign yet that the tightening of the expenditure belt has only been lip service," Steenhuisen said.