Zille defends trip

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May 9, 2017
Zille defends trip

PLAN: Helen Zille said trip can boost economy

Premier Helen Zille has defended her trip to Asia, which reportedly cost R1 million in taxpayers’ money.

The Western Cape Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) says it wants answers from Zille, and the ANC said it will pursue the matter through “different channels”.

ANC Western Cape Legislature caucus spokesperson Cobus Grobler slammed the cost of Zille’s trip saying it was an “enormous amount” to pay to “investigate colonialism”.

This in reference to the Premier’s now infamous tweet, saying “colonialism” was not all bad after her trip to Singapore earlier this year.

Scopa chairperson and ACDP leader in the Western Cape Legislature Ferlon Christians said the cost of Zille’s trip was discussed last week where she had been questioned about the benefits of it to Western Cape residents.

Zille’s office denied the trip as a waste of money, saying the aim was to open up “halaal markets in Asia for Western Cape agri-processing products, and encouraging tourism from that region, was among the objectives of our agenda in Singapore/Japan”.

“The Western Cape Government rejects outright all agenda-driven attempts to claim that the amount of R636 000 was excessive to cover all travel, accommodation and related expenditure,” said spokesperson MIchael Mpofu.

“This amounted to an average of R127 000 per delegation member, three of whom were overseas for eight days and the other two persons for 16 days.

“We do not stay in five-star hotels, unless they can be booked at four-star rates.”

Zille said the markets were integral to the success of the province’s agri-processing and tourism sectors.

Spurred by growth in Asian and other markets, agri-processing and tourism can each add 100 000 jobs by 2019, she added.

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