MEC's trail of credit card sprees exposed

Gauteng MEC for Local Government and Housing Humphrey Mmemezi has lied again and again to the provincial legislature.

He told the legislature he had spent more than R38 000 for accommodation in Malaysia, paying the Prince Hotel Residence in Kuala Lumpur R38 640 for his seven-day stay there while on an official state visit.

MEC for Local Government and Housing Humphrey Mmemezi. Photo: Bongiwe Mchunu. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

In March, DA spokesman on local government and housing Fred Nel had asked Mmemezi:

Mmemezi replied to the DA on May 18 that he had spent 47 nights in hotels in the past year, and

gave a breakdown of all the hotels and the money he had spent.

Mmemezi claimed he had used his credit card to settle his R38 640 bill.

However, The Star has seen Mmemezi’s corporate cardholder statement for December last year, and it does not reflect such a payment.

His government-issued credit card was the one used in Malaysia, with Mmemezi spending less than R650 on it for food. He spent R226.54 at the Bumbu Desa restaurant and later R396 at Nando’s Chickenland on December 7.

These were the only items listed on his credit card for December 2011.

The Star asked Mmemezi for proof of the R38 640. This was not forthcoming.

The credit card was used inside SA on the same day, December 10, that he should have been in Malaysia.

The following were a list of some of the things Mmemezi spent money on while he was in the country at the same time he was supposedly overseas, according to his claim:

These were the only listed expenses for December last year.

Mmemezi had claimed to the legislature that on September 16 to 18 he had been booked at Irene Country Lodge near Pretoria. He said he had used his credit card to pay R3 430 for his stay.

This is contradicted by his credit card statement, which places him in Durban’s Shelly Beach earlier on September 18 – where he spent R697 at the Georgia Spur.

Later that night, he made an overnight booking at Irene Country Lodge and the lodge charged him R245 for his stay.

Mmemezi claimed that from October 7 to 9, he was booked at the Irene Country Lodge and the government was billed R15 070, but The Star has seen a bill showing Mmemezi was charged only R245 for his overnight stay on October 8.

Mmemezi had told the legislature in response to a question that from August 29 until September 1 last year, he had paid R4 629 for staying at the Protea Hotel Edward in Durban, but his credit card indicates otherwise. The statement The Star has seen indicates that Mmemezi had made an overnight booking at the Beach Hotel in Durban only on August 31.

He also claimed that between September 1 and 2 he had been booked at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria, but there is nothing supporting his version in his credit card statement.

Gauteng Local Government and Housing chief director, communications, Victor Moreriane declined to comment on The Star’s individual questions. He said Mmemezi would respond to questions in the legislature.

Premier Nomvula Mokonyane’s office referred queries to Mmemezi.

Mokonyane’s spokesman, Xoli Mngambi, said: “The level of detail you’re looking for would not… be kept in the Premier’s Office. The premier has requested a formal response from the MEC on the matters that you’re enquiring about. Upon receipt of MEC Mmemezi’s formal reply, the premier will make a determination.”

The ANC in Gauteng has asked that the matter be referred to the Office of the Integrity Commissioner of the Gauteng legislature for investigation.

Trade union Nehawu called for Mmemezi’s temporary suspension and a probe over the “very disturbing” allegations.