Public protector to probe the use of SANDF aircraft by ANC officials
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Johannesburg - Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane is probing the use of an SANDF aircraft by ANC officials for its meeting with Zanu-PF in Zimbabwe last week.
On Monday, Mkhwebane’s spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, confirmed that she was investigating the matter, saying the African Transformation Movement (ATM) became the third party to lodge a complaint with her office after AfriForum and Freedom Front Plus.
In their complaint, ATM said it was common cause that on September 9 an ANC delegation led by secretary-general Ace Magashule landed in Harare, Zimbabwe, and were met by Zanu-PF chairperson Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and other party officials.
“The ATM is requesting the public protector to investigate the following: Did Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula comply with the guidance as articulated in chapter 6, international travel, clause 1.3 of the ministerial handbook which says ‘ministers and deputy ministers should approach the president in writing to request approval for the intended visit and, in the event of a planned official visit abroad, such a request should be made at least two weeks prior to departure.
“Such a request should be accompanied by a request for the appointment of an acting minister,’” ATM president Vuyolwethu Zungula said.
“Can President Ramaphosa independently confirm that he indeed received the request for approval as intimated and, if so, did he approve such a request. If so, why is President Ramaphosa requiring a report as if the trip was not sanctioned by him?
“Noting that Minister Mapisa-Nqakula is not on record repudiating the explanation given by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Defence, can Minister Mapisa-Nqakula provide all the paper trail for this Zimbabwe trip which, according to the Ministerial Handbook, should at least pre-date the day of travel by two weeks.
“In addition, can Minister Mapisa-Nqakula provide written correspondence between her office and that of her counterpart where the logistics, including purpose of the meeting, were discussed?
“Can Minister Mapisa-Nqakula give a written account of her whereabouts from the time she landed in Harare, Zimbabwe, on September 9, to when she boarded the flight to South Africa?
“Can the minister under oath confirm that the meeting with her counterpart indeed took place and that the matters as listed were discussed?”
According to Zungula, clause 1.6 states thus: “All applications for the provision of air transport by the South African Air Force must be made to the Secretary of Defence, in advance, to establish the availability of aircraft, flights and landing strips.”