’Tis the season to cut budgets
South Africa’s big corporations, and state-owned and affiliated enterprises are removing the bling from Christmas this year by cutting back on their festive season party budgets or doing away with year-end functions entirely.
Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini’s Ingonyama Trust will throw its 37 employees one of South Africa’s most expensive Christmas parties per head this year.
At R2 700 a head, the king’s Christmas party is more than 10 times pricier than that of the sixth-largest Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed company, MTN, which is only spending R250 on each employee this year.
A total of R100 000 from its workshops and roadshows budget will be spent by the Ingonyama Trust, which is chaired by King Goodwill Zwelithini, on its Christmas party.
MTN chief human resources officer Themba Nyathi said the company will not be inviting musicians for year-end functions this year and that staff members decide how the R250-a-head budget can be better spent.
Cell C staff will not be having a party at all, says spokesperson Karin Fourie.
Vodacom, which reportedly spent R30 million on its Christmas party in 2005, says its year-end events are different in each region.
Spokesperson Richard Boorman said Vodacom’s Gauteng staff recently had a family day at a theme park.
“We’re not having live music at any of the events,” he said.
State-owned entities are spending about R21 million on Christmas parties this year, according to parliamentary replies to questions from Democratic Alliance MPs.
The Competition Commission’s 180 employees will be treated to a R1 200-a-person party.
Even the presidency, which has spent R18 million on entertainment and catering in the past five years, says it won’t have a Christmas party this year.
A year of bruising e-toll battles will end in style for the staff of the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral).
Sanral will be spending about R900 per person at a family event for its staff and their partners.
Transnet has budgeted R10 million on 56 000 employees and 1 000 customers for its Christmas party.
The Airports Company SA (Acsa) insists that the R1.4 million for year-end functions in airports countrywide is not extravagant at all.
The company’s Solomon Makgale said about R1.3 million was spent last year.
He said it’s important for Acsa to show appreciation for staff since most will be working during the busy holiday period.