AMID the furore, President Cyril Ramaphosa has instructed Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to furnish him with a detailed report on the circumstances that led to her sharing a flight with a senior delegation of the African National Congress.
Ace Magashule, the secretary-general of the ruling African National Congress, led a 10-member party delegation to Zimbabwe’s capital this week to discuss what could be done to resolve that country’s economic and political crisis.
In a statement issued on Friday, presidential spokesperson Tyrone Seale said Ramaphosa has noted the public outcry around the flight to Harare by Mapisa-Nqakula, who had permission to travel to Zimbabwe to meet her counterpart to discuss defence-related matters in the region following a recent SADC summit.
“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,” said Seale.
“The President welcomes 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.”
Opposition parties and civil society organizations, including AfriForum, have already laid a complaint with the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane over the use of the SANDF jet to fly ANC heavyweights to a party-to-party meeting with Zanu-PF inn Harare.
The main opposition Democratic Alliance said the ANC had deliberately muddied the lines between party and state, and that its actions constituted flagrant abuse of taxpayer funds. Magashule denied any wrongdoing.=
The delegation included Magashule, party chairperson Gwede Mantashe and Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.
Revelations that South African ruling party officials hitched a ride to Zimbabwe on an air force jet have dealt a setback to Ramaphosa’s drive to clean up the government.
The military said the visit coincided with an official meeting that Mapisa-Nqakula – who formed part of the ANC delegation – held in Harare and it incurred no additional expense taking the other party members along.
(COMPILED BY INSIDE POLITICS STAFF)