The Democratic Alliance (DA) has learned with shock that one of South Africa’s properties in Brussels has been running on a generator since August 2019. Residents and officials in the Brussel Mayoral office closeby have now complained to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) about this situation.

The DA has consistently raised the issue that we cannot have the Department of Public Works (DPW) oversee what should be a DIRCO mandate, and the situation in Brussels confirms why we will continue to push for this shift.

The Foreign Policy Bill that was delayed in Parliament would have fasttracked such a situation but examples like this stress the need for the two ministers to come together and start resolving the issue of our missions abroad which are indicatively in a poor state due to no control over maintenance by DIRCO, and not enough budget from DPW.

Regarding the Brussels situation, the DA can confirm that it has seen, in an email, that not only does it seem to be that South Africa is polluting Brussels with noise and fumes but this unnecessary generator is burning South African taxpayer money at an exorbitant rate, while disturbing the community in Brussels.

It is almost comical that South Africa would be wasting taxpayer’s money on a generator in Brussels when we clearly need them back home, in high demand.

Additionally, the DA is of the view that our foreign missions abroad have a largely bloated and uneconomical footprint. On an oversight visit to Namibia last year alone, the DA was witness to the sorry state of some of the Namibian properties owned by South Africa. Namibia is a state that prides itself on cleanliness, and it was clear that some of the dirtiest part of Namibia was South Africa. We were ruining the image of Namibia by the state of our properties, many being abandoned, while others had become graffiti dens.

The DA will write to the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, to urgently convene a meeting with her DPW counterpart, Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia de Lille, to see how these issues can be resolved promptly and efficiently. DIRCO cannot stand proud and aloof as our presence in Brussels and Namibia bears pollution, noise and a general degree of uncleanliness.

Source: African News Agency