Naledi Pandor and DIRCO blow over R47 million on luxury travel

Issued by Emma Louise Powell MP – DA Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation
15 Jan 2024 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Emma Louise Powell MP

A reply to a DA parliamentary question by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, has revealed that together with her staff compliment, they have blown over R47 million in travel, accommodation and related costs since 2019. This staggering figure equates to a travel and accommodation spend of close to R1 million per month over the past 5 years.

With Treasury imposing cost cutting measures on critical service functions such as housing, health and education, it is simply astonishing that travel and accommodation budgets for jet-setting Ministers have remained largely unaffected. In fact, from 2021 – when the Covid-19 was progressively starting to tapper off, Pandor’s team ramped up their spending on travel and accommodation with each passing year.

The return on investment for the South African taxpayer, on this out of control spending, is nonexistent. First, the ANC government went to extreme lengths to shamelessly defend Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war of aggression in Ukraine. This had the unfortunate outcome of stretching some of South Africa’s most important trade and diplomatic relations to breaking point.

Second, despite a scathing report SADC election observer mission report on Zimbabwe’s August 2023 elections – in which it found that the elections were neither free nor fair, including that they fell short of regional and international standards – Ramaphosa was the first head of state in SADC to endorse the sham election, smiling for the camera’s at the sham Zimbabwean President’s inauguration ceremony.

DIRCO failed to directly comment on the SADC observer mission report, choosing to hide behind the dismissive statement that the Zimbabwe crisis is an internal matter. This head in the sand approach to the Zimbabwe crisis fails to appreciate that Zimbabwe is now firmly a domestic issue in South Africa as Zimbabweans migrate enmasse to escape an imploding economy back home.

As democratic backslide continues to spread across the African continent, and the bloodbath continues to unfold in Sudan, DIRCO remain entirely silent.

The question that then arises is why South Africans should continue to spend tens of millions of tax-payer rands flying and accommodating Pandor and her staff in expensive hotels when the ANC’s stewardship of the country’s foreign policy is single-handedly focused on propping up rogue regimes?

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