High-flying ex-premier

2013-11-26 00:00

FORMER premier Zweli Mkhize yesterday said he would repay government funds incurred when he flew on private jets on personal business, should the current premier ask him to do so.

His comments came after the DA received a parliamentary response last week revealing that the KZN government incurred R1,2 million on 45 flights by Mkhize between 2010 and 2012.

The responses showed that Mkhize chartered private planes to attend two weddings and three funerals. Mkhize yesterday said he would not give the DA a response, but rather be answerable to the Office of the Premier on any demand for any repayments.

“I don’t think it is fair to answer on the phone to you. It is better to speak to them if there is anything,” Mkhize said referring to the Office of the Premier, Senzo Mchunu.

Mkhize’s trip to the Mtha­tha wedding of “Sambula”, an apparent reference to the wedding of President Jacob Zuma’s daughter Duduzile to businessman Lonwabo Sambudla in Mthatha, on April24, 2011, cost the taxpayers R58 809.

Another flight, to the wedding of Dumile in Hluhluwe on July 1, 2011, cost the taxpayers R22 204.

A total of R32 756 was spent when Mkhize flew from Pietermaritzburg to Pongola and back to Durban for the funeral of an unnamed person in November 2010.

In July 2011, he flew from Durban to Ulundi and back to Durban to attend a funeral of “Mama Magwaza”, and in March 2011 flew from Pietermaritzburg to Umkhuze and back to Pietermaritzburg for the funeral of “Mama Nyawo” at Ngwavuma.

The two trips cost the taxpayers R24 609 and R38 102 respectively.

Mkhize also flew to other places such as Richards Bay to attend the unveiling of the Dingiswayo memorial stone in October 2010 at a cost of R48 235, and Umkhuze to attend the Umkhosi WaMaganu in February 2011. In November 2011, he flew to Ulundi for the visit of the Prince of Wales at a cost of R24 609, while a flight to a legislature sitting in Jozini cost taxpayers R30 039. There were also two trips to school visits and meetings in Vryheid on two consecutive days which cost the taxpayers R28 272 each in January 2012.

DA leader Sizwe Mchunu said his party wanted to know how the trips to weddings were justified as Mkhize’s trips in his professional capacity. “It is difficult to imagine a scenario wherein a premier would attend a wedding in his state capacity,” Mchu­nu said.

But, Office of the Premier spokesperson Ndabezinhle Sibiya said: “He gets invited in his capacity as the premier

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