Thabo Masebe on Sunday said he did not know “why there should be any controversy” surrounding Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe's holiday to the Seychelles.
This followed a call by the Democratic Alliance for the public protector to investigate the alleged use of public funds to pay part of Motlanthe's holiday.
“The deputy president - once he becomes deputy president - his security is the responsibility of the state,” Masebe, who is Motlanthe's spokesman, said.
“That is why all travels, whether private or official, are the responsibility of the state.” The state was responsible for Motlanthe's security. It determines how he would be transported.
“For the holiday he (Motlanthe) paid for his own holiday, the state didn't pay, the state only pays for transport,” Masebe said.
According to City Press, Motlanthe was flown to the Seychelles by the SA Air Force three days after he lost to President Jacob Zuma in the battle for the African National Congress' top job at its Mangaung conference.
Motlanthe, his partner and at least five bodyguards checked into the luxury Desroches Island Resort.
The newspaper said it had various documents that outline the holiday expenses, including accommodation and transport costs.
The documents apparently show that a local charter plane was contracted to transport Motlanthe and his entourage after an Air Force Falcon 900 could not land on Desroches Island due to the “unsuitability of the runway”.
The newspaper reported that the cost of the charter plane, apparently R83 000, was covered by the state.
It also reported that the party booked three villas and a retreat for 12 nights at a cost of more than R2 million.
DA MP David Maynier said he was writing to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in order to ask her to investigate whether there was a breach of any policy, law or regulation in the payments for Motlanthe's holiday “ (I will be) submitting a request, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (No 2 of 200), for a copy of the secret 'Presidential Handbook'.” Maynier suggested this handbook would assist in determining what costs of the holiday could be paid for with state funds. - Sapa