BYLINE: Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Political Bureau
DEPUTY Correctional Services Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize has splashed out on a Porsche Cayenne that cost nearly R760 000 while her boss, Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has splurged on a Lexus LS 460 that cost more than R960 000 after VAT.
The combined cost to the department, which overspent its budget by R500 million in the last financial year, was R1.73m.
It also emerged yesterday that the department has spent R6.4m on hotel accommodation, travel and restaurant expenses between April and November this year, nearly R1m more than was spent on these items during the whole of 2008/09.
The details were contained in a series of replies to Democratic Alliance parliamentary questions, prompting an immediate reaction from the party. James Selfe, DA correctional services spokesman, condemned what he called the "rampant wasteful expenditure".
"Our correctional services institutions are in crisis, with overcrowding at 143 percent and a 71 percent vacancy rate for psychologists and 34 percent for social workers.
"The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) uncovered billions in DCS (Department of Correctional Services) corruption, and yet the department has not renewed its contract with the SIU. …