SAT-funded NY junket: Tourism Portfolio Committee chair attempts to muzzle DA

Issued by Manny de Freitas MP – DA Shadow Minister of Tourism
23 May 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Manny de Freitas MP.

According to a report in a Sunday newspaper, three members of the Tourism Portfolio Committee, including myself, were nominated to participate in a pointless weekend junket in New York – funded by SA Tourism (SAT).

I only learnt about this for the first time when the newspaper reporter called me about this matter. It then became apparent that Tourism Minister, Patricia de Lille, rightly pulled the plug on the trip that would have cost the taxpayer R210 000 per person.

In the Portfolio Committee meeting today, members were allowed to speak on the matter. Yet, when I attempted to speak, the Chairperson of the portfolio committee, Ms T Mahambehlala, did not allow me to.

It is clear that the Committee chair and the ANC attempted to muzzle me as I was about to point out the pointlessness of the trip and the fact that it would have been nothing more than a complete waste of taxpayers’ money.

SAT’s offer of such a trip would have compromised the Committee and the members involved, as a Portfolio Committee cannot accept such a trip by an entity it is overseeing.

Furthermore, this trip was an excuse for nothing more than a mini-holiday jaunt without adding value to the work that the portfolio committee undertakes.

The portfolio committee chair indicated that “there was nothing wrong” with such an invitation. This is simply not correct.

As Mahambehlala has attempted to muzzle me, I will be speaking about this matter on Wednesday at the Tourism budget debate so that the public is informed about the shenanigans that SAT attempted.