IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Hlengwa calls on Ramaphosa to act on Zimbabwe jet trip in an open letter

By Samkelo Mtshali Time of article published Sep 17, 2020

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Durban – IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa has rebuked the ANC for using state resources to travel to Zimbabwe for a meeting with Zanu-PF.

In an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, he called on him to immediately ensure those involved face consequences.

Last week, a delegation of the ruling party, led by ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and the party’s chairperson of the subcommittee on international relations, Lindiwe Zulu, “hitch-hiked” on a state jet to Zimbabwe where Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was attending a meeting with her Zimbabwean counterpart.

Last week, Zulu said that they had taken “advantage” of Mapisa-Nqakula’s meeting by hopping on the state jet and flying to Harare with her.

Political parties in the National Assembly, including the DA, have slammed the act as a gross violation of state resources and as an example of the ANC’s inability to separate party from state.

Hlengwa is the latest opposition MP to slam the ANC for using state resources on their Zimbabwean trip and has now penned a lengthy letter to Ramaphosa calling on him to ensure that decisive action was taken against Mapisa-Nqakula.

In his letter, Hlengwa, who is also chairperson of Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts, said that although the issues facing the Zimbabwean people were to be adopted in the same spirit as those of our own country as their problems were South African problems, Ramaphosa had to effect consequence management for the abuse of state resources by members of the ruling party.

The ANC said this week it would reimburse the government for the costs incurred by their delegation.

“Mr President, the ANC’s reimbursement of the costs to the state for a trip, on a SANDF plane, across our borders during a national state of disaster, and in direct contravention of our national lockdown regulations, clearly sends a message to the public that the ANC and the state are inseparable.

“Reimbursement, due to public pressure, solves only part of the problem. The fundamental constitutional crisis of conflating party and state does not require a financial solution, it requires bold presidential leadership to effect consequence management and stern presidential reprimand to set the tone that such is totally unacceptable and inconsistent with the Constitution which, by and large, you, Mr President, mid-wifed for our democracy! It is once again another case of déjà vu,” wrote Hlengwa.

He added that this was “yet another incident” in which the members of the ANC had behaved as though they were above the rule of law and could not be held accountable.

“The ’Animal Farm’ syndrome, where all political parties are equal but some are more equal than others, is in direct conflict with the Constitution and grinds against the grain of multi-party democracy.

“The continued conflation of party and state breaks down our democracy, and all of our efforts in maintaining the rule of law and clamping down on corruption in our own country,” said Hlengwa.

He further stated that the only plausible explanation was that it was the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) which had decided to send a delegation of ANC members along with Mapisa-Nqakula, using state-funded resources, to Zimbabwe.

“Up to now it is not clear why the bilateral meetings of both the ANC/Zanu-PF or that of the ministers of defence were not held virtually.

“The official government trip was properly timed to coincide with the ANC delegation trip; and it was you, Mr President, who approved the minister’s trip, while also being party to the ANC decision to dispatch a delegation at the same time.

“The irony and synchronisation of events cannot be lost. The conditions for a perfect storm were created. Mr President, in any normal and functional democracy our defence minister would have stepped down by now, following yet another blunder on her part,” Hlengwa said.

Political Bureau

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