Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Des van Rooyen spent months living in a hotel while awaiting a ministerial house after his appointment as finance minister in 2015, a stay that cost taxpayers almost R1 million.
Van Rooyen, who replaced former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene after he was fired in December 2015 by President Jacob Zuma, spent 122 nights in hotels and two nights in a guesthouse during this time.
Thirty-five of his hotel stays were in an official capacity.
In a written parliamentary reply on Monday to a question from DA MP Kevin Mileham, Cogta said the cost for the accommodation would be paid by the department of public works.
It took the department apparently six months to find Van Rooyen accommodation.
Mileham wanted to know if Van Rooyen or any of his family members were accommodated in a hotel at the department’s expense and the reasons for this, if that were the case.
Cogta said state-owned accommodation had been requested for the minister from January 1.
“The process was not finalised timeously as expected hence [the department of public works] communicated an apology for delay through the letter dated 24 July 2016. [The department of public works] further committed to incur minister’s hotel costs of R968 562 as the state-owned residence was allocated from 1 June 2016,” the department said.
Van Rooyen was appointed Cogta minister after a four-day stint in the finance ministry. He was replaced by Pravin Gordhan following public pressure and market turmoil for the president to backtrack his decision on his appointment to Treasury.