While the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) is still reeling from the New York and Los Angeles property scandals — an Austrian TV-show, Burgeranwalt, recently exposed that a South African diplomat has allegedly left a Vienna luxury apartment, hired by the Department, with €40 000 worth of damages in just a two year stint.
The owners have threatened to sue the South African Embassy in Vienna and the Austrian government has also reportedly taken up the matter with the South African government.
The DA calls on DIRCO to institute an urgent probe into these allegations and to hold the implicated official to account by ensuring that they personally pay for the damages incurred.
We have also submitted urgent parliamentary questions to Minister Pandor regarding this matter as we are concerned with the amount of abuse that properties abroad are taking by South African diplomats and the amount of money taxpayers are losing in our domestic budget abroad.
A recent reply to a DA parliamentary question revealed that the Department has lost over R9 million in deposits due to damages from leasing properties for diplomats.
The DA will be proposing a motion through the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation seeking an amendment to the newly signed Foreign Service Members Bill to ensure that the South African taxpayer no longer have to pay for millions in negligent damages.
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