Cape Town - South Africa's State Security Minister Bongani Bongo has vehemently denied reports that he raked up a bill of R147,000 for a three week stay at five-star hotel in Cape Town instead of occupying his official state residence.
The Sunday Times newspaper reported that Bongo had checked into the R7,000-a-night Taj hotel at taxpayers expense in a bid to avoid water restrictions and enjoy the luxury of prolonged showers in the drought-ridden city.
The paper also said that Bongo had been holding meetings with several African National Congress (ANC) members of Parliament (MPs) and deputy ministers at the hotel.
In a statement on Monday, Bongo did not deny booking himself into the hotel, but said that he did not stay there for three weeks precisely "because of the realisation of our current fiscal constraints and our responsibility as government to lead from the front".
He said his stay was instead limited to a period of three days.
"For the record, I wish to indicate that the process of allocation of my official residence in Cape Town is yet to be finalised by the relevant department," Bongo said.
"In the meantime, I have been using in the main my old accommodation at the Parliamentary Village. Given the nature of the work we do, I have also made use of other accommodation as well as the hotel referred to in the reports."
Meanwhile, the Ministry said it has approached the Sunday Times to raise its concerns and to seek for a retraction and an apology" for the clearly inaccurate information presented as facts in the story".
African News Agency/ANA