Statement by Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Caucus Leader

I reject with contempt the attack on me by the Gauteng Premier’s Office for what it calls my “tiresome fishing expeditions into the conduct of the Mokonyane administration.”

Premier Nomvula Mokonyane obviously resents having to give replies to my questions that have embarrassed her.

The reality is that much still remains hidden.

The Premier appears to be particularly irked because I questioned why she spent R196 000 on her government credit card in 2008 when she was Housing MEC. I compared this exorbitant amount to the R124000 that her successor as Housing MEC, Humphrey Mmemesi spent in 2011, much of which was found to be irregular, including a R10 000 painting bought at a McDonald’s restaurant.

Despite the fact that I asked for specific details of every purchase by Mokonyane I was not given this. This makes me suspicious that there is a cover-up of extravagant expenditure such as the R96 000 that former MEC Paul Mashatile spent at the Auberge Michel restaurant in June 2006. Furthermore, it is unclear why she paid for accommodation, travel and catering on her credit card when there is a specific separate budget for this type of expenditure.

Mokonyane also refuses to reveal any details of her government credit card spending as Premier. She has a monthly limit of R100 000, but when I asked how much she spent in 2011 I was told only that it was all in line with applicable guidelines. Her office has also totally ignored my application under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) for a detailed breakdown of her spending.

Another secret is how much was spent on new furniture in the Premier’s official house in Bryanston. I was told last year that this could not be revealed because of “security reasons” and the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development has ignored my PAIA request for details of what was purchased. Why is this such a secret?

I challenge Mokonyane to give full details of her government credit card spending, and also what has been spent on furniture and alterations to the Premier’s residence.

It is my duty in a democracy to ensure that there is no wasteful or irregular spending of public money, and I will continue to do this no matter how much it irritates those who want to hide things from the public.

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