Gengezi Mgidlana, the secretary to parliament, spent in excess of R134,000 on luxury hotels, business-class flights, and a chauffeur service for himself and his wife over a four month period at the expense of the national legislature.
The Sunday Times said it obtained confidential parliamentary documents showing that between January and April this year, Mgidlana, accompanied by his wife, splurged on the following:
• Four SAA business-class flights estimated to have cost approximately R70,720;
• Two nights at Sandton’s Michelangelo Towers in an executive suite at a cost of R7,250 per night; three nights at the Four Seasons Westcliff (cheapest suite cost – R4,800); and a night at the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice Melrose Arch (minimum R2,000);
• Mgidlana and his wife, Lerato, used a chauffeur service in a Mercedes-Benz E-class, available for an entry fee of R4,700 per day.
The parliamentary lead told the Sunday paper that his expenses were above board and did not violate any laws. Parliament’s travel policy enables him to travel with his wife, and stay in five-star hotels, using a chauffeur service.
Parliamentary spokesman Luzuko Jacobs said Mgidlana “worked very long hours” and had no time to drive himself. “The decision to be chauffeur-driven is related to operational requirements and taking into consideration safety, efficiency and effectiveness.
“The time of the STP [secretary to parliament] can be better utilised doing work rather than driving,” said Jacobs. “It is not cost-effective for the STP to drive himself, instead of him doing the work that he was appointed to do during long … trips. The STP very often works very long hours and [is] usually required to do work while in transit.”
The Sunday Times noted that it emerged in 2015 that Mgidlana made use of a parliament-owned Audi A8 fitted with blue lights, to drive himself and his family around Cape Town.
In April, Mgidlana came under fire for spending R2 million to lead a delegation of officials on a two-week benchmarking visit to Europe.
The Sunday Times also reported that Mgidlana paid himself a R71,000 bonus just three months into his job, in March 2015.
The full report can be found in the 5 June, 2016 edition of the Sunday Times.