Home News ‘MEC was ill, not on a frolic’

‘MEC was ill, not on a frolic’

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Mac Jack's absence from the tourism indaba was due to illness and fatigue

MEC Mac Jack was too ill to attend tourism indaba. Picture: Soraya Crowie

THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism has attributed MEC Mac Jack’s absence from scheduled meetings at the tourism indaba that was held in Durban last week, to illness and fatigue.

The DA has called on the MEC to repay the public funds that the party claims were recklessly wasted during his trip.

DA spokesperson for Economic Development, Boitumelo Babuseng, stated that the bookings for accommodation and flight travel made on behalf of the MEC were not utilised for its intended purpose.

“I have it on good authority that he never once set foot inside the venue where the indaba was being held. The MEC was therefore abusing public funds, which should be used for the economic development of the Province, for a frolic. As such, he must be held accountable and repay this money from his pocket,” said Babuseng.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Zandisile Luphahla, explained that Jack had attended the tourism indaba upon the invitation of the Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom.

“The indaba is an annual tourism travel Africa show that the minister saw it fit to invite tourism MECs from all the provinces for strategic meetings, including the ministers and MECs.

“Upon the MEC’s arrival in Durban, he didn’t feel well. He was taken to the local hospital and was discharged on Monday afternoon. The doctor put the MEC on medication and he was subsequently advised to take some time off and rest before he could attend any of the scheduled meetings with the minister.”

Luphahla indicated that the head of ministry, Darius Babuseng, was requested to stand in for the MEC.

“The minister was kept abreast of the MEC’s condition throughout the week. The minister even took some time from his hectic schedule and visited the Northern Cape tourism stand, where he delivered a ‘get well soon’ message to the officials to relay to the MEC.”

Luphahla added that Jack had to follow doctor’s orders by taking bed rest.

“We suspect that fatigue might be creeping in. Since the beginning of the year, the MEC has been crisscrossing the world and Africa in a quest to lure investors to the Province.

“On his return from his recent two-week United Arab Emirates/Republic of China outbound mission, the MEC had to attend a five-day business meeting in Luderitz, Namibia.

“Upon his return, he was scheduled to speak at a religious gathering in Colesberg before he could make his trip to Durban.

“In all the above-mentioned scheduled meetings, the MEC was required to use both air and road transport for more than a month without rest. This is a clear indication that, with such a hectic schedule, the body needed some rest.”

Luphahla indicated that the MEC had refused to rest as he took the task of marketing the Province as the best tourism destination and attracting investors, “very seriously”.

“The MEC will never stoop that low and use public funds for his personal benefit. More than once he has been quoted as reprimanding those who are busy with corrupt activities in government. He was the first senior leader in government to call for a lifestyle audit.

“We are glad to announce that the MEC is recuperating well at home and he will be back at work soon to attend to the legislature programme, including two budget vote presentations.”