Claims that Western Cape Premier Helen Zille's trade mission trips overseas were a waste of taxpayers' money are "feeble, baseless... cheap attempts at political sabotage by the opposition", the DA said on Tuesday.
The ANC and African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) in the Western Cape on Tuesday lambasted Zille's recent trip to Thailand and Vietnam, reportedly at a cost of R540,000 for four people in total, according to IOL. The ANC's chief whip in that province, Pierre Uys, told IOL said there was "little value to the trips" and that they were a "total waste of money".
The ACDP's provincial leader, Ferlon Christians, said the current "tight-budgetary environment" should preclude trips for "fact-finding".
In response, the DA dismissed the claims, saying they were a part of an attempt by opposition parties in the province to "divert attention away from the fact that the Western Cape remains the best-performing province" in the country, Daylin Mitchell, chairperson of the standing committee on the premier, said on Tuesday.
Money spent on overseas trips for the Premier was "reimbursed exponentially to the province" through foreign investment, Mitchell wrote on Tuesday.
Each square represents a new patent registered by Western Digital in Bangkok. They work closely with university professors to develop ideas. pic.twitter.com/EDCnaOHZed— Helen Zille (@helenzille) September 9, 2017
The statement claims Zille's international presence has been responsible for attracting investment close to R10 billion in the last five years, as well as augmenting the profile of the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape as a tourism and investment-friendly destination.
"Premier Zille's trips abroad are proven to guarantee immense international investment in the Western Cape," Mitchell wrote.