President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday announced some cost-cutting measures to curb wasteful expenditure.
Any government official wanting to go on an overseas trips would have to "motivate strongly" and explain how it would benefit the country.
The size of delegations on these trips would be reduced and standardised, he said to some applause.
There would be restrictions on conferences, catering, and entertainment. Budget vote dinners, hosted by government departments, would no longer take place, he said. This was welcomed with loud applause.
Similar measures would start applying to state-owned entities.
Zuma called and premiers and mayors to join efforts to cut wasteful expenditure.
He said Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan would announce more measures during his budget speech.
Another big expenditure that required Parliament's attention soon was the maintenance of Pretoria as the country's administrative capital and Cape Town as the legislative capital, he said.
"The executive has looked into this matter and the cost is too big to maintain, because it means, particularly with the executive, we must have two houses, one in Pretoria -". He was interrupted at this point by an MP shouting "one in Nkandla", referring to Zuma's rural KwaZulu-Natal homestead.