Minister's R1.6m luxury hotel stays
Cape Town - Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson has spent 174 days of her two years in office staying at luxury hotels in Johannesburg and Cape Town, despite having official residences in both areas.
This came to light on Monday in answers to a parliamentary question by her opposite number, Lourie Bosman, in the Democratic Alliance.
The cost to the taxpayer for the stays has totalled R1.6m, or R1 700 per stay, as Joemat-Pettersson chalked up stays in Peermont D'Oreale Grande Emperor's Palace in Johannesburg, the Hydro Executive Apartments in Johannesburg, and Cape Town luxury hotels the Vineyard and The Table Bay.
Joemat-Pettersson, who is a member of the SA Communist Party, is one of the ministers in government's high court application to have more stringent conditions for the entry of giant US retailer Wal-Mart into the local market.
Wal-Mart, the world's biggest company, has a strict code of conduct for its executives when they travel on corporate business. They have to fly economy class, share hotel rooms and hire the lowest cost vehicles.
Other ministers who have declared themselves hostile to Wal-Mart's entry are Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel and Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.
Bosman said: "I feel it is very ironic that Joemat-Pettersson is staying in these high cost hotels while she is opposing the Wal-Mart deal and they set the example on how to keep costs down. I find this all very bizarre."
According to the reply sent by Joemat-Pettersson's office, she spent:
- 36 days, costing R135 000, at the Vineyard Hotel and Spa in Cape Town - July/August 2009;
- Another 36 days, costing R290 000, at the Peermont D'Oreal Grande Emperor's Palace JHB - Sept/October 2009;
- 28 days, costing R420 000, at the Pure Toys One - June/July 2010.
- R15 000 at the Intercontinental at OR Tambo International - 1 day - January 2010;
- R24 000 at the Hydro Executive Apartments Johannesburg - 4 days - June 2010;
- R10 620 at the Intercontinental OR Tambo International - 1 day - April 2011.
The answer then detailed double-booked stays:
- Having paid to stay at the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town, she stayed at the Peermont D'Oreal Grande Emperor's Palace in Johannesburg for three nights - 16-19 June 2009
- Having paid to stay at the Intercontinental at OR Tambo International, she stayed at the 5-star Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town - 12 April 2011
- Sheraton Pretoria - 3 nights - R15 000 - May 2009;
- Aluane Town Lodge - 31 days - R35 910 - October 2009;
- Aluane Town Lodge - 31 days - R41 000 - May-June 2009.