What is the point of defending the indefensible? How low can the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) stoop after trying to justify the unjustifiable? Why is it taking South Africans for a ride?
The SANDF this week defended the use of an air force jet by an ANC delegation that travelled to Harare, Zimbabwe, saying Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was, in fact, on official duty and actually allowed her ANC colleagues to catch a ride.
What a coincidence this was. Or was it? How was it that her trip to Zimbabwe happened to be on the same day as the ANC delegation’s journey?
This was blatant misuse of state resources and taxpayers’ money to conduct party business.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule explicitly stated that the party had gone to Harare to meet Zimbabwe’s governing Zanu-PF, also a former liberation movement.
The day-long meeting culminated in the two parties agreeing that Zimbabwe was not in crisis, only facing “challenges”. This in a country where inflation is close to 840%, the GDP is in minus territory, shop shelves are empty, human rights are under attack and media freedom is under siege, while political opposition and civic activists are being jailed and beaten up.
While we do not object to positive interventions in resolving the Zimbabwean crisis, we believe these should be honest and inclusive. Merely sitting down with comrades with a shared history and ignoring the plethora of other players is not constructive, especially since the mission was done at taxpayers’ expense.
Although the ANC has committed to meeting other parties, this was only after an outcry.
We agree with those who say that letting Luthuli House heavyweights hitch a ride on a state jet was abuse of public resources. It cannot be justified.