After viewing more than 20 res

SA Consul General LA, Thandile Babalwa Sunduza. Image: Twitter@BabalwaSunduza

After viewing more than 20 residences, SA Consul General in LA deems none suitable

It appears it’s Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills or nothing for SA Consul General in LA.

After viewing more than 20 res

SA Consul General LA, Thandile Babalwa Sunduza. Image: Twitter@BabalwaSunduza

International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) Minister Naledi Pandor has confirmed that more than 20 properties were viewed in efforts to secure a residence for South Africa’s Consul General in Los Angeles, USA, but Thandile Sunduza considers none “suitable.”

DA MP Darren Bergman had asked Pandor for “the detailed reasons why the South African Consul General has still not found a satisfactory residence in Los Angeles,” but Pandor did not elaborate as to why none of the viewed properties met with the approval of the former ANC MP Sunduza.

Last month, the Sunday Times reported that Sunduza rebuffed the properties as she is eyeing Beverly Hills’ luxury Rodeo Drive, home to many Hollywood stars.

Sunduza also reportedly upset potential landlords by demanding imported furnishings from the East as well as insisting that kitchen cabinets and wall units be changed.

Bergman also tried to glean from Pandor the particulars of Sunduza’s complaints of the more than 20 properties which the Consul General was shown in Los Angeles as well as why the property leased by her predecessor was not good enough for the incumbent.

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Pandor’s full reply reads as follows: “The South African Consul General arrived in Los Angeles at the end of January 2020. While searching for a suitable residence for the CG [Consul General], the lockdown (stay-at-home) order was issued in Los Angeles in March 2020, which made it difficult to continue searching for and viewing properties.”

“Although greater than 20 properties had been considered in areas beneficial by the native workplace of the US State Department, no appropriate property was recognized throughout this preliminary interval. As a part of the search, three properties deemed to be appropriate had been later recognized, however the mission misplaced the properties attributable to causes associated to the landlords’ decision.”

The DIRCO minister added that the previous CG vacated the property in July 2019, five months before the arrival of the Sunduza, who arrived at the end of January 2020.

“In this regard, it was decided that it was not cost-effective to keep renting an unoccupied property (CG’s residence), so the contract was terminated or not renewed, with a view that another property will be searched for as soon as the new CG arrives.”

The residence of the CG in Los Angeles is not the solely property-related problem plaguing South Africa’s diplomatic missions in the US.

In October, News24 reported that DIRCO ‘misplaced’ R118 million it paid as an upfront payment to purchase a piece of land to construct workspace and accommodation for South Africa’s permanent missions to the United Nations and Consulate General in New York.

As it turned out, this piece of land apparently does not exist, the publication reported.