The DA has urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to fire Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula “now.”
This follows the ANC’s offer to reimburse the government for using an SA Airforce jet to travel to Zimbabwe for a meeting with ZANU-PF last week.
“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. Our delegation is under quarantine in line with our lockdown regulations,” ANC Secretary-General, who led the delegation, said in a statement on Tuesday.
In a statement soon afterwards, DA MP and shadow defence minister Kobus Marais said this was an admission by the ANC that it had “abused state resources.”
He said, “President Cyril Ramaphosa has no other option but to fire Mapisa-Nqakula. It is now patently clear that Minister Mapisa-Nqakula willfully allowed the ANC delegation to abuse state resources for her party’s political ends.
“This was a gross violation of her oath of office, a dereliction of duty and a complete disregard for ethical standards. She simply must go. The DA will also lay a complaint with Parliament Ethics Committee against the Minister in this regard.”
Panel of aviation experts
Marais also vowed that the DA will not allow the ANC’s reimbursement to happen “behind closed doors.” He added, “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.”
The MP further said there was still no clarity on whether or not Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula had approved the ANC delegation’s international travel “as per the level 2 lockdown regulations.”
On Friday, Ramaphosa gave Mapisa-Nqakula 48 hours to prepare a report on the circumstances that led to the ANC delegation using the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) aircraft.
The Minister is reported to have submitted the report on Sunday, but Ramaphosa had not yet made it public or issued a statement on it at the time of writing this article.
In an earlier statement, Marais said the DA will ask for the tabling of that report before Parliament’s portfolio committee on defence and military veterans.