Van Rooyen must pay back his R1 million hotel bill: DA

The DA has called on minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Des van Rooyen, to pay back the R1 million of public funds incurred by the Department of Public Works for his six-month-long stay in a luxurious hotel.

News24 reported that van Rooyen spent 122 days living in a hotel, and two nights in a guest house while awaiting a ministerial house.

In a written reply on Monday, the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) said the cost will be borne by the Department of Public Works.

The department was replying to a question from the DA’s Kevin Mileham about whether or not van Rooyen or any member of his family were accommodated in a hotel at the department’s expense.

The department was also asked to detail the reasons why.

Van Rooyen was appointed by President Jacob Zuma as South Africa’s finance minister after Nhlanhla Nene was fired at the end of 2015. He was then appointed to head Cogta after a four-day stint in the finance ministry.

In the reply, Cogta said state-owned accommodation had been requested for Van Rooyen from January 1.

“The process was not finalised timeously as expected hence [the Department of Public Works] communicated an apology for delay through the letter dated 24 July 2016. [The Department of Public Works] further committed to incur minister’s hotel costs of R968 562.00 as the state-owned residence was allocated from 1 June 2016,” the department said.

In 2016 amaBhungane reported that Van Rooyen was booked in the hotel on a month-to-month basis and the hotel was “to the most appropriate norms in line with approved financial prescripts”.

At the time the hotel stay was reported to have cost R500,000.

The hotel, 131 on Herbert Baker, has a 180-degree view of Pretoria and borders a nature reserve in the wealthy suburb of Groenkloof, according to the report.

“Minister Van Rooyen must personally incur the cost of this lavish and unnecessary accommodation,” the DA said.

“The weighing of priorities by the ANC-led government has proven beyond no reasonable doubt to be grossly problematic.

“While the ANC continues to parachute their compromised cadres to government positions to loot public funds, the DA remains resolute on fulfilling its mandate for change by ensuring that service delivery is realised in the places where it governs,” the party said.

With News24

Read: Myeni blows millions on luxury hotels, donations and other dodgy payments: report

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Van Rooyen must pay back his R1 million hotel bill: DA