The Democratic Alliance (DA) has requested a full report to parliament on the R3.5 million spent on President Cyril Ramaphosa and his entourage last month when they travelled to the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Centenary Conference in Geneva in Switzerland.
DA MP Michael Cardo said in a statement on Tuesday the millions spent on the trip were revealed in a recent reply to a parliamentary question.
Cardo said the reply revealed that the department of employment and labour spent a “whopping” R3.5 million on “a 12-day junket” for 35 delegates to accompany the president.
“There were 62 accredited delegates in total from South Africa, one of the largest delegations from any country,” Cardo said.
The DA would write to Minister Thulas Nxesi to request a full, detailed report on whether the objectives of the trip were achieved and for it to be tabled in parliament’s committee on employment and labour, Cardo said.
“The DA and the public deserve to know the breakdown of costs for each of the delegates that attended; what they achieved and how they contributed; and how the department will be implementing the lessons learnt from the trip to help the 10.2 million unemployed South Africans.
“The average cost per delegate was almost an astronomical R100,000 and if no tangible solutions to solve joblessness come from this trip to Geneva it would have been nothing more than a luxury vacation to one of the world’s most expensive cities and a colossal waste of public money. It is an indictment on the newly appointed minister of employment and labour who apparently approved the expenditure,” Cardo said.
He added that the public deserved to know why it was necessary for the department to send one of the largest delegations to Geneva, which cost South African taxpayers millions of rands.
“In the face of unprecedented levels of unemployment and economic stagnation, austerity measures are a necessity for the government. The jamboree to Geneva seems difficult to justify.
“The department would do better to channel its energy and resources to helping the more than 10 million unemployed South Africans get a foot on the labour market ladder.”
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)