Cape Town - DA MP David Maynier was told to “keep his flea-infested body at peace and sit down” by his old foe on Tuesday as the row over executive chartered jet flights taken by former defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu rumbled on.
Maynier infuriated Sisulu when he suggested in the National Assembly on Tuesday that a “political war” had broken out between Sisulu – now in charge of the Department of Public Service and Administration – and her successor at defence, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
Mapisa-Nqakula recently revealed in reply to a DA parliamentary question that Sisulu had taken 203 flights on Gulfstream executive jets chartered by the defence force.
Despite Sisulu insisting she had taken no more than 35 flights, Mapisa-Nqakula’s spokesman said the information had been provided by the air force itself.
“One of the ministers is clearly massaging the facts,” said Maynier, who has accused Sisulu of covering up the extent of the bill.
“We should not be surprised that the former minister [of defence] is in full damage-control mode, because we know that [she] burned through nearly R200 000… each time she flew from Pretoria to Cape Town [and back].”
Instead of suggesting her critics were talking “rubbish” she should rather be “apologising for her staggering waste of public funds”, the DA’s spokesman on defence, who routinely crossed swords with Sisulu when she was defence minister, said.
Responding, an angry Sisulu said she had referred the matter to Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, the leader of government business in Parliament, as well as to its presiding officers. The words “hogwash” and “balderdash” applied to what Maynier had said.
“I insist I took 35 flights. Your flight of fancy, wherever you get your information, wherever you are handled from, there were 35,” Sisulu said.
“I have referred the matter to the presiding officers and the leader of government business and they will respond to that, so you can keep your flea-infested body at peace and sit down,” Sisulu concluded.