The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called President Cyril Ramaphosa's silence on the African National Congress (ANC) jet scandal unacceptable.
According to the official opposition, a delegation, led by ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule used a South African National Defence Force (SANDF) jet to travel to Harare on Tuesday to meet with the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF). Magashule was joined by other ANC members including Nomvula Mokonyane, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Tony Yengeni.
When they arrived back on South African soil, SABC journalist Samkele Maseko asked whether they viewed it as an abuse of state resources. Magashule responded by saying "no."
DA Shadow Minister of Defence Kobus Marais said; "Not only do we call on President Ramaphosa to clarify this brazen corruption by his party, but the DA also calls on the ANC to immediately pay back the money that SANDF spent on transporting its party delegation to Zimbabwe."
Since then, Ramaphosa has apparently been hush on the topic.
DA FRUSTRATED OVER RAMAPHOSA'S SILENCE ON ANC JET SCANDAL
Marais said over 48 hours have now passed since the revelation that ANC party officials used a state military jet like an "Uber" to Harare on party business.
"Yet President Ramaphosa remains absolutely silent and is ignoring urgent calls to speak up and take action against these senior ANC cadres. Ramaphosa is both Commander in Chief of the SANDF, and Head of the ANC, and thus enjoined to make an urgent public statement on how his party has illegally benefited from an aircraft of the state he leads," said Marais.
Marais said Ramaphosa had big things to say about battling corruption, however, he has failed to address the latest transgression within the party.
"What emerges more clearly with each passing day is that Ramaphosa is powerless to stop the rampant corruption and theft by the ANC, and the ANC will forever remain Accused no 1 when it comes to corruption," said Marais.
DA ACCUSES ANC OF USING STATE MACHINERY
Marais took to reminding Ramaphosa of the facts of the ANC jet scandal matter:
A delegation of ANC members, led by Secretary-General Ace Magashule, flew to Zimbabwe in a state-owned jet at the taxpayers' expense. This is a flagrant blurring of state and party lines and abuse of state machinery. It amounts to theft from the people, by the ANC;
- There is no response to our question of whether the delegation had the permission of the Transport Minister to undergo this trip, as dictated by Level 2 lockdown regulations. If he did, we call for transparency and the documentation to be made public. If not, ANC officials have broken the lockdown regulations;[*]There is no indication of who paid for the delegation's accommodation and other expenses; and[*]There is no clarity on the real purpose of the Minister of Defence's trip to Zimbabwe, given that a previous SADC troika meeting took place virtually.
"Ramaphosa can write a letter every day, for the next decade, about his commitment to eradicate corruption. But as long as he keeps quiet about incidents like this, it's just going to be empty words," said Marais.
"Ramaphosa was unwilling to speak out against the redeployment of the corrupt Zandile Gumede in the KZN legislature. He was unwilling to speak out against the awarding of COVID-19 contracts to the sons of Ace Magashule. He is yet to fire his spokesperson, where massive family enrichment through COVID tenders is plainly apparent. And now, once again, he is not prepared to speak out against the corrupt misuse of state resources by ANC cadres," he added.