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Ramaphosa will take no further action against minister over controversial Zimbabwe flight

by Staff reporter
06 Nov 2020 at 07:15hrs | Views
President Cyril Ramaphosa said he would not be taking further disciplinary action against Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula for a controversial flight that ferried ANC delegates to Harare in September, TimesLIVE reported.

Mapisa-Nqakula and a delegation of senior ANC members left the Waterkloof Air Force Base on 8 September, on ZS-NAN - an air force jet allocated for VIPs, News24 reported at the time.

The delegation included ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, Nomvula Mokonyane, Enoch Godongwana, Tony Yengeni, and Dakota Legoete.

On Thursday, Ramaphosa was reportedly responding to parliamentary questions submitted by the DA's Dr Leon Schreiber, who asked the president whether he intended to take further action against the minister for failing to comply with guidelines for international travel.

"I do not intend to take any further action. I deem the reprimand given to the minister, the directive that three months' salary be donated to the Solidarity Fund, and the obligation to ensure that the costs of the trip are reimbursed by the political party [are] sufficient sanction," Ramaphosa said in a written reply to the National Assembly, according to TimesLIVE.

The Ministerial Handbook prohibits the South African Air Force from providing transport to any government department for party political engagements, News24 reported.

Shortly after it emerged that an ANC delegation accompanied the minister, opposition parties accused the ANC of abusing public resources for party business.

Pay back the money

According to Mapisa-Nqakula, the cost of the flight was R232 200. Altogether, there were 11 passengers on the flight, meaning the cost per person was R21 109.09.

The DA called on the ANC to immediately pay back the money that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) spent on transporting the delegation.

On 28 September, the Presidency announced that Ramaphosa had issued Mapisa-Nqakula with a formal reprimand.

He also docked her salary for three months and directed her to ensure that the ANC reimburses the state for the costs of the flight.

The ANC reimbursed the South African National Defence force to the tune of R105 545,46 in early October, eNCA reported.  

According to TimesLIVE, Ramaphosa on Thursday explained that "while the request did not comply with the requirement in the Guide for Members of the Executive that requests should be made at least two weeks prior to departure, this is, unfortunately, not an uncommon occurrence due to the pressures of state work".

"The international trip was approved by me on 8 September. As I was not in Gauteng at the time, the approval was verbal and the relevant documentation was signed as soon as possible thereafter," he reportedly said.

While Ramaphosa had approved the trip, Mapisa-Nqakula's request for presidential approval did not spell out the urgency of the visit, and it did not make mention that ANC comrades would be in her entourage.

Source - news24