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Pandor: R118m paid for non-existent land in NY a national embarrassment

Pandor was answering questions during a sitting of the National Assembly on Wednesday.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor addressed the media in Pretoria on 14 December 2020. Picture: @SAgovnews/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor said the R118 million her department spent on office and residential accommodation in New York did not buy anything and agreed the matter was a national embarrassment.

Pandor was answering questions during a sitting of the National Assembly on Wednesday.

The government paid the money over to a service provider for land that did not exist and Pandor faced questions from the Democratic Alliance’s Mergan Chetty and the Economic Freedom Fighter’s Thembi Msane: “Minister, this New York project is an embarrassment to the nation, whichever way you look at it - and there ought to be political casualties for this…”

Pandor replied: “I agree with honourable Msane that it is an embarrassment for our country, this is why we are in court to recover the R118 million. And I should have indicated to honourable Chetty that the R118 million did not buy anything. And this is why we have had investigations; this is why there are charges under way and this is why there is a court process. You would not be doing all these things if you believed everything was correct.”

Pandor said the department’s High Court application to have the tender award reviewed and set aside and to recover the money was heard in October, and judgment is still awaited.

Pandor said Open Waters, a firm of investigators appointed by Dirco, had submitted a report to the department.

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