The Democratic Alliance (DA) can today reveal that, in her previous position as Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, South Africa’s number one tourist, Patricia de Lille, spent over R2.4 million in taxpayer money on international jet-setting between September 2019 and September 2022. During this three-year period, President Cyril Ramaphosa personally approved eight luxurious overseas trips for De Lille in terms of the Ministerial Handbook. Information obtained by the DA through a parliamentary question shows that the flights, luxury accommodation and subsistence costs of these trips amounted to R2 415 994.

Bereft of a single accomplishment in her previous portfolio and having presided over the Beitbridge washing line fiasco and the burning down of our Parliament, De Lille can at least point to her knack for taxpayer-funded global travel in her new position as Minister of Tourism. While South Africans were stuck in the darkness of worsening load-shedding engineered by De Lille and her ANC colleagues over the past three years, she was enjoying the bright lights of Dubai, the USA (twice), the UK (twice), Singapore, as well as Cuba and Egypt.

Patricia de Lille travels in style at taxpayer expense. She spent over R1.6 million on eight international – doubtless business class – return flights. During a jaunt to the United Kingdom in September last year, she incurred total costs of R478 000 in only five days. This included flight tickets costing South Africans an astronomical R326 000. Her accommodation for five nights in a luxury hotel added over R140 000 to the taxpayer bill. De Lille blew more on luxurious overseas travel in these five days than most South Africans will earn in five years.

“Six nights in Cuba” would make a good movie title for the Hollywood lifestyle that ANC rockstar Patricia De Lille’s enjoys. The only problem is that her hotel accommodation during six tropical Havana nights in April last year cost the people of South Africa over R122 000, with business class flights adding another R236 000 to the bill.

Below is the complete list of international trips under taken by De Lille during her disgraceful tenure as Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure:

   DestinationsAccommodationTravelOther costsTotal
(21/09/2019 – 01/10/2019) United States of AmericaR104 041,40R254 478,89R24 855,80R383 376,09
(18 – 23/01/2020) United KingdomR81 180,38R125 311,67R7 925,72R214 417,77
(25/06/2021 – 02/07/2021) EgyptR28 500,00R88 150,00R6 285,22R122 935,22
(24/03/2022 – 29/03/2022) DubaiR72 727,51R209 423,75R13 905,21R296 056,47
(25/04/2022 – 01/05/2022) CubaR122 152,51R236 653,40R11 593,12R370 399,03
     (16/07/2022 -23/07/2022) UnitedStates Of AmericaR112 660,00R293 050,08R20 460,33R426 170,41
(29/07/2022 – 02/08/2022) SingaporeR0,00R113 001,40R11 361,02R124 362,42
(24 – 29/09/2022) United KingdomR140 700,00R326 318,40R11 259,16R478 277,56
TotalR661 761,80R1 646 387,59R107 645,58

The R2.4 million spent by taxpayers on De Lille’s global jet-setting is made possible by chapter six of the Ministerial Handbook, a document for which there appears to exist no legal basis whatsoever even though it costs South Africans billions of Rands every year. The Handbook stipulates that the President approves, in writing, all international travel for Ministers and Deputy Ministers, making Ramaphosa personally responsible for this wastage. The Handbook entitles rockstar Ministers and Deputy Ministers to travel overseas in business class and to take along an entourage that can include their spouse, bodyguards and support staff – with every cent footed by the people of South Africa.

But it doesn’t end there: the Handbook also grants ANC rockstars access to VIP lounges, directs them to stay in “hotels which suit the status of Members [of the executive] (5 star graded hotel or equivalent of a South African 5 star graded hotel),” and grants them a generous subsistence allowance.

The DA is leading the fight against this abuse of the people of South Africa by the ANC Ministers and Deputy Ministers who are destroying our country. We have already laid a complaint with the Public Protector over the apparent fact that the Handbook that feeds the cadres at the trough is illegal. We are also introducing the Cut Cabinet Perks Bill in Parliament to provide for full transparency and parliamentary oversight over this obscene waste of money.

The DA has already exposed that ANC rockstar Ministers and Deputy Ministers live in mansions valued at R1 billion, that they employ support staff costing R387 million per year, and that De Lille spent R2.6 million to install generators at their mansions. In the next phase of our campaign to expose and abolish this wastage, the DA will soon – for the very first time in our democratic history – reveal the total amount of exactly how much the Ministerial Handbook robs from South Africans every year to fund the lifestyles of ANC cadres like Patricia de Lille.

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Dr Leon Schreiber MP

Dr Leon Schreiber MP is the DA (Democratic Alliance) Shadow Minister for Public Service and Administration

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