Taxpayers forked out more than R100 000 for ANC delegation’s Zim junket
Durban - Taxpayers forked out more than R100 000 for what has now been dubbed a ’joyride’ to Zimbabwe for ANC officials.
On Monday, the DA questioned whether the amount of R105 545 was accurate as it excluded other expenses.
Last month, the trip made headlines after it was found that ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule and Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu had piggybacked on a ride to Zimbabwe. Initially, only Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula had been given permission to travel to Zim using the state's Air Force jet.
The DA's Kobus Marais said they were of the view that the trip has been grossly under-calculated.
"The R86 000 per hour confirmed by the Minister of Defence to President Cyril Ramaphosa excluded the costs related to landing rights and parking of the Falcon 900 for nearly 24 hours, the costs related to onboard food and drinks as well as the costs related to pilots and onboard staff. In addition, the official passenger list indicated the Minister plus six members of the ANC’s NEC were on board, which correlates with the seven people she indicated in her letter to her Zimbabwean counterpart on 7 September 2020 when she requested a visit to Harare," Marais said.
The DA has written to National Treasury to ascertain whether Finance Minister Tito Mboweni was consulted prior to going on the trip.
Marais said the Defence Act is clear, Section 80(3)(a)(i) states that, the Minister of Defence must first consult the Minister of Finance before allowing conveyance of any person who is not an officer or employee of the State on board a SAAF aircraft.
“However, there is no reference in any of the two reports submitted by Minister Mapisa-Nqakula to President Cyril Ramaphosa of any consultation with the Finance Minister. If, as we suspect, Minister Mboweni was not consulted, then the use of the SAAF jet by the ANC delegation results in irregular, wasteful and unauthorised expenses,” he said.
He said they want to know what steps Treasury will take against Minister Mapisa-Nqakula and the ANC’s blatant and unauthorised abuse of State resources.
“Additionally, as far as the costs are concerned, the DA wants to know if Treasury was consulted by Minister Mapisa-Nqakula to determine a reasonable amount the ANC must pay back for abusing State resources,” he said.