The days of spousal freebies at the expense of taxpayers will soon be gone as the cash-strapped government moves to curb unfruitful expenditure. In a move likely to irk senior government officials and members of the executive, the state is considering withdrawing the spousal accompanying benefit when they fly out of SA on duty. Members of the executive are allowed to take their spouses and/or adult family members with them on international trips. This issue came to the fore last year when Norma Gigaba accompanied her husband, then finance minister Malusi Gigaba, on an international road show to the US where she enjoyed a daily allowance of R15,942.15. There were also trips to Asia and the UK. Taxpayers spent R873,366.68 on international travel for Norma Gigaba from April 1 2017. This included business class flights and accommodation in luxurious hotels such as the Ritz Carlton and the Grand Hyatt in the US. The revenue shortfall has ballooned to R50bn in the current financial year. ...

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