Inside Bheki Cele’s trip to Paris: top-tier flights and luxurious hotels

Issued by Okkie Terblanche MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Police
03 Mar 2024 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Okkie Terblanche MP.

In response to the DA’s PAIA application for a request for documentation regarding his trip to Paris to attend the Rugby World Cup in October 2023, the DA can now reveal further details of the Minister’s luxury trip to Paris.

Notwithstanding the Minister’s vehement denials of the allegations that he contravened the Executive Ethics Code, his response raises serious questions about the state of fiscal responsibility in his office and the manner in which taxpayer funds are being spent by the Ministry.

The documents provided, revealed that the Minister and his wife were accompanied on their flight to Charles de Gaul airport by his executive assistant, who was treated with a business class seat.  The total taxpayer contribution to his assistant’s flights was a jaw dropping R184,528.43.

The Minister, his wife and his assistant was accommodated at the Marriott Hotel, complete with a view of the Arc de Triomphe and situated just a stone’s throw away from the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.  An idyllic retreat at a public cost of R20,553.50 per person, per night – totalling a staggering R82,789.00 for the assistant’s four nights in Paris.

All three travellers were also allocated a daily “subsistence allowance”.  The Ministerial couple received R2,593.00 each and the executive assistant received R2,357.00, all at a total taxpayer cost of R46,258.00.  The public purse also sponsored all three attendees’ medical and travel insurance at a total cost of R7,710.00, together with an allocation for “unforeseen expenditure” of R5,000.00.

To top it all off, South Africans made sure that the trio would travel through Paris in style, gifting an allocation of R167,680.50 for VIP Services at Charles de Gaul Airport, inclusive of “fast track immigration” and an airport transfer in a Mercedes E-Class.

With crime rates on the rise, the SAPS understaffed and under-resourced, and gangsters infiltrating the upper echelons of SAPS management, South Africans simply cannot afford a spendthrift Minister of Police who doesn’t bat an eye at spending more than a quarter of a million rand on his executive assistant’s travel and accommodation alone.  Despite his protestations, the Minister’s spending habits more than justify a continued investigation by Parliament and the Public Protector.

The DA will submit these documents to the Public Protector to continue her investigation into possible contraventions of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act 82 of 1998 and its accompanying Code of Conduct.  The DA will also furnish copies of these documents to the parliamentary ethics committee, supplementing its initial complaint of possible violations of the Code of Conduct applicable to MPs.