DA accuses Rajbansi of excessive travel claims

2009-12-23 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL’S own travelgate scandal is hotting up, with the De­mocratic Alliance accusing Minority Front leader Ami­chand Rajbansi of claiming more than R2 million in travel costs during his tenure.

In October, Rajbansi released figures showing that Economic Development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu claimed more than R380 000 in travel costs in just three months.

A DA member of the Provincial Legislature, George Mari, yesterday issued a statement revealing that Rajbansi has himself received more than R2 million in travel claims over a five-year period.

Mari said, “it is mind-boggling” that Rajbansi continues to persecute Mabuyakhulu and other provincial MECs over their inflated travel claims when he is guilty of the same excessive conduct.

Rajbansi called the DA the “Distorting Alliance” and accused the party in the province of becoming the “praise singers of the ANC”.

He said he is not losing any sleep over his R2 million travel claims as the money was spread over five years.

“You can’t compare my one year’s travel costs to what Mike Mabuyakhulu spent in three months. I averaged about R400 000 per year; he received R350 000 for three months,” ­Rajbansi said.

The Minority Front leader added that MECs are allowed to travel 5 000 km per year to do their political work and that he hardly reached that figure.

Mari said Rajbansi’s travel claims were given to him by the KZN Arts and Culture Department in response to a parliamentary question.

“Many of KZN’s citizens live below the bread line, yet our province has a scheme in place which allows senior members of parliament to supplement their income through travel claims, also permitting them to claim at three times the rate of normal MPLs. The DA is committed to changing this arrangement and will continue to lobby, at every opportunity, for a revised system.”

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