Thulas Nxesi: Junketeering abroad while jobs are in jeopardy at home

Issued by Dr Michael Cardo MP – DA Shadow Minister for Employment and Labour
08 Jun 2022 in News

Please find an attached soundbite by Dr Michael Cardo MP 

The Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, has been junketeering abroad while jobs are in jeopardy at home.

A reply to a parliamentary question submitted by the DA reveals that since Minister Nxesi’s appointment to his new portfolio in 2019, he has been on official trips to Botswana, Brazil, Cuba, France, Switzerland and the Ivory Coast.

The total amount spent on accommodation and flights was R1 693 390.13, while the Minister helped himself to daily allowances amounting to R88 714.17. This includes a whopping R403 923.79 on flights and accommodation to Brazil alone, where the Minister attended a BRICS Ministerial meeting in September 2019.

The Minister seems particularly fond of sorties to the Ivory Coast. He travelled there twice to attend International Labour Organisation (ILO) meetings – in December 2019 and again in December 2021 – at a combined cost of R526 714.64 on flights and hotel bills. While in the Ivory Coast he notched up daily allowances of over R10 000 – more than the daily allowance he received when visiting France. Quite why the Minister had to travel to Cuba – ostensibly to consolidate bilateral relations – while splashing R205 651.86 on flights and accommodation is a mystery.

This extravagance recalls (and includes) the jamboree in Geneva in June 2019 when the Department of Employment and Labour shamelessly spent R3.5 million on a 12-day junket for 35 delegates to accompany President Cyril Ramaphosa to a conference hosted by the ILO. There were 62 accredited delegates in total from South Africa, one of the largest delegations from any country, which constituted a massive waste of taxpayers’ money.

Minister Nxesi would do well to tighten his belt.  With the expanded unemployment rate sitting at over 45% and the runaway cost of living – marked by punishing fuel and food prices hitting the poor and the jobless the hardest – it seems particularly callous for the Minister to be gallivanting around the globe at taxpayers’ expense.

The ANC government would do better to channel its energy and resources to helping the more than 12 million unemployed South Africans get a foot on the labour market ladder.