We did need to spend R426m: department

2010-02-27 09:05

THE international relations and co-operation department has

confirmed spending R426 million on travelling, accommodation and catering from

March 2008 to September last year, but put this down to the nature of its


“We can’t be treated like a normal government department. The money

was spent in carrying out the mandate of the department,” spokesman Saul Molobi

said yesterday from Shangai, where a cup of tea cost the equivalent of


Business Day reported last Friday that national government

departments ran up bills of more than R3?billion on luxury travel, restaurants

and accommodation over 19 months.

The international relations department was one of the biggest

spenders, according to the report, which was based on a Democratic Alliance


Molobi took a week to respond, as he was “verifying the


“The expenditure on accommodation, travelling and catering was

budgeted for during the two financial years,” he said.

The money was spent on travelling and accommodation for “major

activities” such as state visits and the presidential inauguration,

international visits by heads of missions, peace operations and African Union

meetings, multilateral and bilateral meetings, and training and financial

reviews of missions abroad.

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