President Cyril Ramaphosa has directed Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to furnish him — within 48 hours — with a detailed report on the circumstances that led to her sharing a flight to Harare, Zimbabwe with a senior delegation of African National Congress (ANC) leadership. The Democratic Alliance, calling it the ANC jet scandal, accused Ramaphosa of being hush on the matter but it seems the president has now addressed the issue.
ANC JET SCANDAL: RAMAPHOSA CALLS ON MAPISA-NQAKULA TO EXPLAIN
The presidency issued out a statement on Friday evening saying that Ramaphosa has noted the public discussion that has been generated around a flight to Harare by Minister Mapisa-Nqakula. The defence minister had permission to travel to Zimbabwe to meet her counterpart to discuss defence-related matters in the region following a recent SADC summit, however, other circumstances have muddied the waters.
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 allegedly joined by other ANC members including Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
The DA slammed the alleged incident calling it a misuse of state machinery.
"In the interest of good governance and the prudent and ethical use of state assets, the President has directed the Minister to provide a report within 48 hours that will set out the circumstances around the flight and the passenger list," the presidency said.
Ramaphosa has welcomed the interest shown by South Africans in this matter as an indication of the nation's vigilance against allegations of improper deployment of public resources.
DA DISTURBED BY USE OF SANDF JET
DA Shadow Minister of Defence Kobus Marais called on Ramaphosa to clarify what he called "brazen corruption" by his party. He also called on the ANC to immediately pay back the money that SANDF spent on transporting its party delegation to Zimbabwe.
Marais reminded 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.