Free State government 'eats' 178 cattle worth close to R1m

16 August 2019 - 07:55 By TimesLIVE
Members of the provincial legislature and municipal councillors were among the beneficiaries.
Members of the provincial legislature and municipal councillors were among the beneficiaries.
Image: 123RF/Artem Zakharov

The Free State government is eating the department of agriculture and rural development’s livestock.

Provincial MEC for the department William Bulwane has revealed, in response to a question in the legislature, that 178 cattle, worth R815,200, were donated for catering at government events, farewell functions for MECs, funerals for needy families and church events between January 1 2009 and March 31 2019.

The question was posed by DA MPL Roy Jankielsohn.

A detailed list of how the livestock were used indicated they went towards “catering purposes during the budget speech as part of cost containment”, “catering purposes for potato week event” and “catering at the World Food Day commemoration”.

Numerous cattle were donated to destitute families for funerals and to farmers for breeding.

Others were donated to causes such as the “launch of garden beautification project in Cornelia” and several went towards “catering for office of premier’s function” on different occasions.

“The Free State has daily funerals of needy families, and many church activities, who require assistance for catering of events such as funerals. In the absence of clear criteria and guidelines for donations, the system is open for abuse,” said Jankielsohn.

“Livestock in the possession of the department of agriculture are not meant for welfare or cost-cutting purposes during catering at events for premiers and other government departments. The department is not a welfare institution and cattle in their possession should be used for research and other agricultural activities that benefit the agricultural sector.”

Among beneficiaries were members of the provincial legislature and municipal councillors. A donation on June 22 2016 was listed as being for the funeral of a member of the provincial legislature, who, said Jankielsohn, held a position at the legislature and “appears to be alive and well”.