Taxpayers cough up nearly R500 000 for army chief's flights

2016-11-15 22:29
General Solly Shoke (Netwerk24)

General Solly Shoke (Netwerk24)

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Cape Town – Flights to and from Cuba for SANDF chief General Solly Shoke, his wife, and three officials have cost the taxpayer almost R500 000.

“In total, R442 643 was spent on plane tickets for the head of the South African Military and his delegation from 13 to 19 June 2016,” Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said in answer to a question from DA MP Kobus Marais, Netwerk24 reported on Tuesday.

“Accommodation, car hire and other expenses were paid for by the hosts,” the answer reads.

In reply to a previous question by Marais about the purpose of the visit to Cuba, Mapisa-Nqakula said: “It was a planned visit to his (Cuban) counterpart to strengthen ties between the two armies and to look at the progress of SANDF members studying in Cuba.”

The DA would still ask Mapisa-Nqakula which airline was used, what class they flew, what the itinerary was, and if the department paid for the flights in accordance with Treasury’s savings measures.

“The spending is unacceptable considering that military equipment is in disrepair and that we are struggling to meet the requirements of peace agreements,” Marais said in a statement.

He said the DA would ask Auditor General Kimi Makwetu to investigate the matter.

This was not the first time Shoke’s travels had been questioned. In 2014, more than R100 000 was spent on tickets to Malaysia for Shoke to attend a conference.

Trade unions said at the time that Shoke refused to fly SAA or economy class “because his backside is too large”.

Read more on:    da  |  sandf  |  solly shoke

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