Government cuts back on travel spend

Government has reduced travel budgets as part of its cost-containment measures, which in some instances has caused a reduction in bed nights and flights for certain suppliers. 

Sailesh Parbhu, md of XL Nexus Travel says that stringent measures have been put in place. He adds that compliance to government’s department-wide travel policy is measured on a monthly or quarterly basis by means of supplying TMC reports to National Treasury, which then concludes vetting and verification on airfares and other expenses.

Another TMC who chose to remain anonymous suggested that cost cutting could also be politically motivated, based on the upcoming elections. “We saw the same kind of cost containment happening around the last elections. Government doesn’t want to be seen wasting money on ‘unnecessary’ or extravagant travel,” said the TMC.

A few hotels based near parliament noted that they sometimes get government rejections, purely based on rates: “We’ve noticed this trend recently, with most of the rate rejections coming from SAPS,” they said.

Explaining the criteria government uses to determine whether or not travel is necessary, Parbhu said, “Every government department has a national plan and the plan is basically driven by their executive committee, from the director-general’s side. Then, they’ve got portfolios within each government department with weekly, monthly and yearly plans. The responsibility in fulfilling those obligations within government drive meetings, and dictates whether they need to travel or not, all within the limits of budgets.

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