Motlanthe’s holiday defended

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kgalema motlanthe dec 19 sized Independent Newspapers Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe. File picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Johannesburg - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe’s transportation and security is the responsibility of the state, therefore there is nothing controversial about his being flown by the SA Air Force for a holiday in Seychelles.

His spokesman, Thabo Masebe, said on Sunday that whether or not Motlanthe was on official duty or attending to his private business, he was the full responsibility of the state 24 hours.

City Press reported on Sunday that Motlanthe was flown to Seychelles by the SAAF three days after he lost to President Jacob Zuma in the battle for the ANC’s top job at its Mangaung conference.

Motlanthe, his partner Gugu Mtshali and at least five bodyguards checked into the luxury Desroches Island Resort.

The newspaper said it was in possession of 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 SAAF 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.

Masebe said Motlanthe paid for his and and Mtshali’s accommodation, while the government paid for the bodyguards and Department of Defence staff.

“The deputy president only informs the SAPS and the Department of Defence that on a specific date he will be travelling to a certain destination.

“There is nothing controversial about this. The SAPS has to make sure he is secure, and the Defence Department is responsible for the transport. If he is not being flown, he is transported by the SAPS,” Masebe said.

Meanwhile, DA spokesman for defence and military veterans David Maynier said he would ask Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to investigate the use of public funds by Motlanthe on his holiday in Seychelles.

“Deputy President Motlanthe reportedly used public funds to pay for part of his holiday in Seychelles between December 23, 2012 and January 4, 2013,” Maynier said.

He added that the guidelines for the use of military aircraft or the chartering of aircraft are set out in the Handbook for Members of the Executive and Presiding Officers (“Ministerial Handbook”), which are clear that “ministers and deputy ministers may only use military aircraft or chartered aircraft for official purposes”.

SAPS spokesman Brigadier Phuthi Setati said: “The SAPS can’t comment on matters that have the potential to compromise security around VIPs.”

Siphiwe Dlamini, the spokesman for the Department of Defence, said: “We don’t discuss the trips of the deputy president and the president.”

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