Zille's Asia mission 'a good investment, and by the book'

09 May 2017 - 08:36 By PETRU SAAL

The office of the Western Cape premier, Helen Zille, who came under fire for her recent trip to Asia, has brushed off criticism that the costs were excessive.

Zille's office issued a statement yesterday rejecting what it called "all agenda-driven attempts to claim that the amount of R636000 was excessive to cover all travel''.

The trip included visits to Japan and Singapore.

Zille's spokesman, Michael Mpofu, said the trip was "an important trade, tourism and investment mission".

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"This amounted to an average of R127000 per delegation member, three of whom were overseas for eight days and the other two for 16 days," said Mpofu.

"The planning of the tourism, trade and investment mission was both cost-effective and entirely in line with public finance regulations," he said.

"If costs cannot be incurred to undertake missions to these Asian markets, then we will be unable to secure the economic return for the province.

"The track record of our economic strategy speaks for itself," he said.

Mpofu said the delegates did not stay at five- star hotels and that the seminars they attended took place at the hotel to cut down on travelling costs.

"Hotels were recommended by the South African embassy and the high commissioner," he said.

ANC provincial chief whip Pierre Uys said he would ask the auditor-general to investigate the costs of the trip.