The Western Cape Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) says it will seek answers from Premier Helen Zille about the benefits of her trip to Asia which reportedly cost R1 million in taxpayers’ money.
The ANC said it will persue the matter through “different channels”.
ANC Western Cape Legislature caucus spokesperson Cobus Grobler said slammed the cost of Zille’s trip saying it was an “enormous amount” to pay to “investigate colonialism”. Zille’s spokesperson Michael Mpofu said on Sunday the “trip” cost R636 000 and that direct business engagements were facilitated by provincial government-owned Western Cape Investment and Trade Promotion Agency (Wesgro) at a budget of R500 000, with the specific aim of opening up economic partnerships between the Western Cape and Asia.
This was separate from the cost of travel, accommodation and all other included expenses.
Zille landed herself in hot water for her comments about colonialism following her trip to Singapore. She had posted a series of tweets in which she suggested not every aspect of the legacy of colonialism was bad. Zille now faces a DA disciplinary hearing.
Scopa chairperson and ACDP leader in the Western Cape Legislature Ferlon Christians on Sunday 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 and South Africa as a whole.
According to Mpofu, Dr Laurine Platsky, who planned the visit, had said it was backed by a carefully thought-out strategy for long-term exposure of the Western Cape to Singapore and Japanese tourism, and trade and investment markets.
“Already, feedback is positive from the engagement in relation to skills development, and an announcement will be made when the agreements have been signed. We cannot pre-empt them,” he said.
Speaking to Netwerk 24 on Sunday, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille says she would welcome an investigation by the Auditor General into her recent trip to Asia, which cost the taxpayer more than R1.1m — an average of R127 000 per person.
“Absolutely. He must investigate it. I have no problem with that. He does it in any case and I welcome it.”