Minister ‘unaware of the high costs of his accommodation’

2009-10-08 10:45

POLICE Minister Nathi Mthethwa has instructed his office to draft a

travel and accommodation policy to prevent “unnecessary expenditure” in the

future, his spokesperson said today.

This was in reaction to a report in a daily newspaper today that

the minister spent 17 days at one of Cape Town’s most luxurious hotels, the

five-star Table Bay Hotel, at a cost of R235?000 to tax payers.

He stayed there earlier this year while his house was being

renovated after flood damage occurred.

Mthethwa’s spokesperson, Zweli Mnisi, confirmed this in a statement

today, but said the minister was unaware of the high costs of his

accommodation.

“As soon as the issue of the hotel costs was brought to the

attention of the minister, he instructed a senior official to conduct a full

investigation into the matter,” said Mnisi.

Mthethwa spent only one night in the presidential suite and was not

billed extra costs for it because it was a free upgrade offered by the

hotel.

“The minister also stayed in different categories of rooms

dependent on the availability of these rooms at the times he stayed at the

hotel,” said the spokesperson.

“The protectors (minister’s security personnel) who stayed at the

hotel, stayed in the cheapest rooms available with the exception of four nights

when they were placed by the hotel in more luxury rooms without the knowledge of

the ministry. With regard to these four nights the official investigating the

matter is currently in discussions with the travel agency to address why this

took place.”

Also, the police ministry has queried certain room charges,

including telephone, mini bar and laundry costs.

“The official investigating team has held discussions with the

travel agents to seek clarity and steps are being put in place to rectify these

queries,” said Mnisi. “These steps, where necessary, may include the recovery of

undue costs. And in addition, where some of this undue expenditure did occur,

this will be recovered from the relevant individuals.”

According to Mnisi, the minister has now instructed two senior

staff members to develop a comprehensive policy on travel and accommodation.

“This policy ensures that unnecessary expenditure on both travel and

accommodation does not occur in future.”


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