News ANC responds to jet scandal: ‘We travelled in an...

ANC responds to jet scandal: ‘We travelled in an unusual manner’

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The African National Congress (ANC) said a delegation sent to Harare to interact with its Zimbabwean counterparts did in fact “[travel] in an unusual manner” after it made use of a military jet.

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has been accused of allowing ANC officials to use a military jet to travel to Zimbabwe which other political parties have labelled as a blatant abuse of State resources. 

ANC EXPANDS ON JET SCANDAL 

The ANC, in a statement issued out by Secretary-General Cde Ace Magashule himself, said that while the trip to Zimbabwe was a successful one, the manner in which representatives travelled, was not.  

“In our quest to achieve this mission, we travelled in an unusual manner and profusely humble ourselves where we went wrong during the lockdown and will reimburse the government for the costs incurred on behalf of our delegation,” it said.  

“Our delegation is under quarantine in line with our lockdown regulations,” it added. 

On Friday, the presidency released a statement saying that President Cyril Ramaphosa called on Mapisa-Nqakula to explain the jet debacle via a detailed report. The president gave her 48 hours to furnish him with the report detailing the circumstances of the flight to Zimbabwe, as well as who was on board the flight. 

Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu, in an interview with eNCA, said nobody can just get on a flight and travel somewhere. 

“You cannot go without the authority, and the authority was not to the ANC, the authority is the defence and the minister of defence getting all the necessary permissions to do that. There’s no way we can get into a flight and fly off,” she said. 

When Magashule returned from what the ANC called a successful mission of bilateral engagement with Zanu PF, political reporter for SABC News Samkelo Maseko asked him if he had abused State resources by travelling in a jet with Mapisa-Nqakula. He firmly said “no”. 

Due to a successful meeting in Zimbabwe, apart from the use of a State jet, it was agreed that the ANC will in the foreseeable future return there in order to proceed with envisaged meetings. 

“As the ANC, we would like to appreciate the success of our delegation mission of national interest to Zimbabwe with both hands because a successful and prosperous Zimbabwe as our neighbour is good for South Africa, the SADC region and our beloved continent Africa,” it said. 

‘SHE SIMPLY MUST GO’ – KOBUS MARAIS 

DA Shadow Minister of Defence Kobus Marais also released a fiery statement saying that Ramaphosa should fire Mapisa-Nqakula for allowing the ANC delegation to abuse state resources by making use of an airforce jet. 

“In light of the ANC’s admission of shamelessly abusing an airforce jet to travel to Zimbabwe to meet their Zanu-PF counterparts, President Cyril Ramaphosa has no other option but to fire the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula,” said Marais. 

“She simply must go,” he added. 

The DA said it laid a complaint with the Parliament Ethics Committee against the Minister of Defence following the ANC’s admittance that it would reimburse government for its use of the jet. 

“The DA will not allow for this to happen behind closed doors and we call for the appointment of a panel of aviation experts to determine the full cost of the ANC’s trip to Zimbabwe, including the wear and tear on the aircraft, and other associated costs. This information must be submitted to the Auditor-General for full interrogation against departmental expenditure on the ANC flight,” said Marais. 

“This repayment also does not absolve the ANC Secretary-General, Ace Magashule and his fellow ANC-members who were on the flight of any wrongdoing. The reality is that there is still no clarity as to whether the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, approved the delegation’s travel across the border as per the level 2 lockdown regulations,” he added. 

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