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Johannesburg - Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane used her government-issued credit card to attract business for the people of Gauteng.
This is what she told the Speaker of the Gauteng legislature in a written response.
Mokonyane told the legislature on Tuesday that she was unable to give oral answers to the questions the DA served on her last month because of other government commitments.
According to the rules of the legislature, Mokonyane was then required by law to give a written response to the Speaker. Also, she be would later given an opportunity to give oral answers in the provincial body.
After the sitting of the legislature, Mokonyane explained her expenditure to the media. She explained that she was given a monthly spending limit of R100 000 on her credit card, which totals R1.2 million a year.
Last month, the DA’s Jack Bloom asked the premier to indicate what the total expenditure was – in money value – on this card in 2011 and 2012.
In her reply to the media, Mokonyane said she spent about R57 000 in 2011, and last year her expenditure was R26 453.99.
“These are the amounts I used instead of R2.4m. I’ve spent less than R100 000 between 2011 and 2012. Most of the monies spent were on business lunches and meeting with people who wanted to invest in Gauteng.
“I also used the card on trips while hosting people abroad. In most cases, it was during meetings while trying to lobby our international hosts to make Gauteng their preferred destination,” Mokonyane said.
She said one of her successful lobbying efforts was her ability while abroad in 2011 to ensure that a lot of foreign guests and business people, including fashion gurus, attended the International Fashion Week at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown earlier this month.
Mokonyane was adamant that she was in support of the view that any government official who misused public funds should face the consequences.
In her view, she had used the card to buy gifts and “reciprocate her diplomatic guests” in South Africa and abroad.
The Star has seen a document which stated that in 2011, Mokonyane spent R29 577.32 during her overseas trip on her credit card and almost R17 000 in 2012.
According to insiders in the legislature, the expenditure took place during lunch meetings abroad in places like India and in Atlanta, US.
Others lunches were held in various restaurants in Gauteng, like The Raj restaurant in Sandton.
Mokonyane emphasised that all these expenses were on business meetings in the country and abroad, saying there was no need for her to pay anything back.
She also indicated that she was likely to use the card when the country hosts the Brics conference in Durban this month, saying it would be in her effort to also attract investors to Gauteng.
Mokonyane’s assurances followed after a former MEC for local government and housing, Humphrey Mmemezi, was forced to quit his post for misusing his official credit card by buying clothes and groceries for his family.
Mmemezi also purchased a painting worth R10 000 through a McDonald’s franchise in Pretoria.