CAPE TOWN – Helen Zille’s recent Asian trip cost taxpayers more than R1.1 million
Accompanied by her husband, Johann Maree, and three from her department, Zille travelled to Singapore and Japan.
In all, R636 159 was spent on “travel, accommodations and other costs”, and R500 000 was paid to Wesgro, which organized seminars during the trip.
Wesgro is provincial entity tasked with encouraging economic growth and investment in the Western Cape, and does not fall under Zille
During question time in the Western Cape legislature this week, ANC provincial chief Whip Pierre Uys asked Zille about the trip, during which she tweeted about the supposedly positive aspects of colonialism, which in turn led to a DA disciplinary inquiry
According to the Die Burger, Zille told Uys the immediate benefit of the trip may well not be apparent, but it aimed to foster commercial, trade and tourism relations.
Yesterday, Zille told the Sunday Times she realized the amount spent was hefty.
“But it means an average of R27 000 per person, all expenses included, which is within a reasonable ballpark for this kind of trip”
She said two officials stayed for two weeks and she stayed nine days with her husband and Dr Laurine Platzsky, deputy director-general for strategic programmes in the department of the premier.
“Please bear in mind the exchange of the rate,” said Zille.
“I did not take a personal secretary in order to save costs. We did an enormous amount of work, from the moment the plane landed until the moment it left.
“My husband, who did research, came with me for the first time in eight years on official government trip” According to the handbook, he may come on every trip”
Uys said the ANC would ask auditor-general to investigate. “We need to be clear on what the trip is entailed, what it achieved and whether it was legal for the department of premier to make payment to Wesgro in that way” said Uys
PHOTO: Former Democratic Alliance leader and current Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has dismissed an assertion that she has gone “rogue”‚ charging that recent articles written by her were cleared by incumbent party leader Mmusi Maimane.