Minister had nowhere to stay, dept says

2011-10-24 22:29
Cape Town - Criticism of Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson for luxury hotel stays is "cheap politicking", her department said on Monday.

"The minister was appointed in May 2009, and did not have official accommodation for more than a year," it said by way of explanation in a statement.

In a reply to a parliamentary question, tabled earlier, Joemat-Pettersson revealed she had spent R1 584 817.86 - since April 1 2009 - on hotel accommodation, all while on "official duties".

Her written reply to the question, posed by the Democratic Alliance, drew sharp criticism from the opposition party on Monday.

"The... reply revealed numerous long stays at hotels, bookings at five-star hotels, a high number of double-bookings (meaning that two different hotels were booked and paid for, for the same night) and a number of stays at hotels in Pretoria, despite the fact that the minister should have an official residence there," DA MP Lourie Bosman said in a statement.

Joemat-Pettersson's hotel bills were unjustifiable in a country where millions lived in poverty and did not have access to proper housing.

"Her spending habits are similar to those of many of her Cabinet colleagues, who seem intent on placing their expensive tastes above the needs of the South African people," he said.

Hotel expenses listed by Joemat-Pettersson in her reply include, among others:

- Over a month at the Vineyard Hotel and Spa in Cape Town during June and July 2009, at a cost of R134 735.86;

- Five weeks at the Peermont D'Oreal Grande Emperor's Palace in Johannesburg between September 16 and October 21 2009, at a total cost of R289 352; and,

- Close to a month spent at Pure Toys One CC in Johannesburg during June and July last year, at a total cost of R420 000.

In its reaction to the criticism on Monday, the department of agriculture said it was perturbed by what it called the DA's "grandstanding".

The DA had failed to explain the context of why Joemat-Pettersson had to be accommodated at hotels.

"The minister was appointed in May 2009 and did not have official accommodation for more than a year. The house that was allocated to the minister in Cape Town was sub-standard and had many chronic defects," the department said.

"During that period when the house was undergoing renovations, [the] minister had to be accommodated at a hotel to allow her to perform her official duties."

To label the minister's hotel accommodation unjustifiable, its suggesting she placed expensive tastes above the needs of the South African people, was "insulting, disingenuous and smacks of cheap politicking", the department said.

The R1.6m in hotel costs run up by the minister during her about 30 months in office were "justifiable given the prevailing circumstances at the time", the department said.

"The minister had to use alternative accommodation in accordance with the rules governing the official accommodation of ministers."

Read more on:    tina joemat-pettersson  |  government spending

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Partnered with
Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Quiz: Test your Rio Olympics memory!

Think you know what went on at the Rio Olympics? Prove it by tackling Sport24's ridiculously impossible yet highly addictive post-Games quiz!


Rio Olympics

GALLERY: SA's Rio Olympic medallists
As it happened: Rio Olympics - Day 17
Selecting 6 numbers turned Britain into Olympic superpower
Caster cranks up the heat in Rio semi

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.