In the 26 months from June 2009 to August 2011, the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, spent R764 742 on 145 nights in luxury hotels across the country.
This was revealed in information recently received by the DA in response to a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application submitted to the Department of Social Development in November 2011.
The detailed invoices received by the DA shows that Minister Dlamini has a preference for five and six star establishments such as the Radisson Blu and One and Only Hotels in Cape Town, the Hilton in Durban and Intercontinental Sandton Towers Hotel.
Some of the most extravagant stays included:
• 4 nights at Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront in Cape Town at a cost of R23 346;
• 10 nights at the Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront in Cape Town at a cost of R62 406;
• 28 nights at the Cricklewood Manor in Pretoria at a cost of R139 494;
• 11 nights at the Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront in Cape Town at a cost of R50 816;
• 5 nights at the Hilton Durban at a cost of R20 053; and
• 3 nights at the Hilton Durban at a cost ofR24 624.00
In terms of the Ministerial Handbook, , members of the Executive may, for official purposes, occupy one state-owned residence in the capital of their choice free of charge. Members may occupy a second state-owned residence in another capital in which case they pay market-related rent.
I will be submitting parliamentary questions to the Minister of Public Works to determine in which city Minister Dlamini's official residence is. If the Minister has an official residence in the cities where she spent so much time in luxury hotels, I will ask the Public Protector to investigate Minister Dlamini for wasteful expenditure of the nature of which her former and current cabinet colleagues Sicelo Shiceka and Tina Joemat-Pettersson have both been found guilty. I will also ask for information on Minister Dlamini's spending on hotel stays since November 2011.
Minister Dlamini's expensive tastes displays a blatant disregard to the 15 million vulnerable South Africans who live from hand to mouth on the social grants that her department is mandated to manage.
The Minister will have to provide compelling evidence that the close to R770 000 she spent on luxury hotels was not a reckless abuse of public funds.
Mike Waters, Shadow Minister of Social Development