Remember, ANC, you work for SA

Our ruling party did the right thing yesterday in announcing it would "pay back the money" which it had cost the South African Air Force (SAAF) to fly an ANC delegation to Harare aboard a VIP jet. Yet, that step on to the path of righteousness happened only after spirited dancing around the issues and ducking and diving from the party and its leaders, who tried to imply that the meeting with Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party was an official government mission. Clearly, none of the ANC hierarchy – including President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was well aware of the excursion –...
Our ruling party did the right thing yesterday in announcing it would "pay back the money" which it had cost the South African Air Force (SAAF) to fly an ANC delegation to Harare aboard a VIP jet.

Yet, that step on to the path of righteousness happened only after spirited dancing around the issues and ducking and diving from the party and its leaders, who tried to imply that the meeting with Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party was an official government mission.

Clearly, none of the ANC hierarchy – including President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was well aware of the excursion – ever thought there would be such an explosion of public and political disgust at the blatant capture and misuse of taxpayer-funded resources. Thus, while the reparations are to be welcomed, we doubt that the ruling party had a sudden attack of conscience.

After all, it's never happened before. Sundry ministers and government officials have, it must be said, come up with creative excuses to justify looting for personal benefit – the best example being the multiresidence homestead at Nkandla for former president Jacob Zuma.

Who can forget the straight-faced explanation that the swimming pool, built under instruction from the department of public works, was a critical component of the residence's fire-fighting system? It is too early to hope that the ANC has realised that its own piggy bank should not be filled with taxpayer rands … after all, habits of a lifetime are hard to break.

Some suggestions, though, for Luthuli House: No VIP flights, except on government business, two bodyguards, maximum, for ministers only; and a R500 000 limit on official cars. Remember, comrades – you work for us…

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