Taxpayers paid nearly R900k for Malusi Gigaba's wife to accompany him on trips

Norma Gigaba’s trips to New York and south-east Asia alone cost almost R140,000 for flights and included a daily travel allowance of nearly R16,000.

FILE: Malusi Gigaba and his wife on the SONA red carpet on 9 February 2017. Picture: Aletta Harrison/EWN

CAPE TOWN – Taxpayers have forked out nearly R900,000 to pay for Minister Malusi Gigaba’s wife Norma to accompany her husband on international trips.

The amount is revealed in a written reply to a Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentary question.

Norma Gigaba accompanied Gigaba, who was then finance minister, to an investor conference in New York and roadshows in south-east Asia soon after his appointment by then President Jacob Zuma in November last year.

Gigaba was returned to his former portfolio of Home Affairs in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet reshuffle in late February.

Norma Gigaba’s trips to New York and south-east Asia alone cost almost R140,000 for flights and included a daily travel allowance of nearly R16,000.

But the total cost to the fiscus of her accompanying her husband on his official business since April 2017 is reflected as more than R873,000.

The DA’s David Maynier, who asked the question, says that Norma Gigaba played no official role in the investor roadshows and conferences and that the taxpayer shouldn’t have to pay for what he describes as “a series of intercontinental shopping trips”.

Maynier says while the travel may be allowed in terms of the Ministerial Handbook, Gigaba should “do the right thing” and repay the money, as he was supposed to set an example of financial restraint.