Department of Employment and Labour splurges R6.3 million on ILO junket

Issued by Dr Michael Cardo MP – DA Shadow Minister of Employment and Labour
09 Oct 2023 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Dr Michael Cardo MP.

The Department of Employment and Labour splurged the princely sum of R6,361,845.07 when it paid for 28 delegates (out of a total delegation of 43) to attend the 111th Session of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conference in Geneva from 5 to 16 June 2023.

This shocking waste of taxpayers’ money came to light in reply to a parliamentary question posed by the DA.

The Department squandered over R1.1 million on air travel, over R4.1 million on hotel accommodation and almost R37 000 on daily subsistence allowances for the lucky junketeers led by Minister Thulas Nxesi.

The Minister was at the helm of what he outrageously terms a ‘scaled-down’ tripartite delegation encompassing representatives from government, organised labour and business.

Eight government advisers went along for the ride, as did thirteen officials from the Department of Employment and Labour. One of them, Advocate Fikiswa Bedwe (Chief Director: Inspection and Enforcement Services) is currently undergoing a disciplinary hearing for various charges outlined in this separate reply to a parliamentary question.

Independently of the Department, the serially underperforming Compensation Fund (which was unable to submit its annual financial statements this year) paid for its representative to attend, as did the equally ill-starred Unemployment Insurance Fund.

The jaunt to Geneva was a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money. It occurred at a time when the country finds itself in dire straits financially. One of the fiscal cost-containment measures is meant to involve scaling back dramatically on travel and conferences, but clearly Minister Nxesi didn’t get the memo.

The Department of Employment and Labour needs to get its priorities in order and resist the temptation to take every Tom, Dick and Harry to international jamborees when over 42% of South Africans can’t find work on home soil.

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