ANC trip to Zimbabwe: Ramaphosa enters the fray, demands report from Mapisa-Nqakula within 48 hours

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Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24

President Cyril Ramaphosa wants a detailed report, within 48 hours, from Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula after an ANC delegation accompanied her to Zimbabwe on a SA National Defence Force (SANDF) air force jet.

This comes after News24 reported that the ANC had been accused of abusing state resources because it used a government-sponsored jet to conduct party business.

"In the interest of good governance and the prudent and ethical use of state assets, the president has directed the minister to provide a report within 48 hours that will set out the circumstances around the flight and the passenger list," the presidency said in a statement on Friday evening.

Ramaphosa said that Mapisa-Nqakula had permission to travel to Zimbabwe to meet her counterpart to discuss defence-related matters.

He also noted the public backlash, saying it is a sign of the nation’s vigilance against allegations of abuse of public resources.

READ | SANDF says defence minister went to Harare for official duty and gave ANC colleagues a lift

The ANC delegation, which left on ZS-NAN – an air force jet allocated for VIPs - was seen arriving in Harare for a planned meeting with Zanu-PF.

The delegation, which included ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, Lindiwe Zulu, Nomvula Mokonyane, Enoch Godongwana, Tony Yengeni and Dakota Legoete, left the Waterkloof Airforce Base on Tuesday evening in an air force jet.

READ | Public Protector considering probing ANC's use of military jet for trip to Zimbabwe

On Thursday, defence spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said the ANC meeting coincided with Mapisa-Nqakula's official work.

"The meeting of the ANC in Zimbabwe coincided with the meeting of the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, who was travelling to Zimbabwe to meet her counterpart in preparation for a SADC Troika meeting and the UN reconfiguration of the Force Intervention, which comprises troops from the SADC region," he said.

Meanwhile, the Public Protector, advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, is considering whether to investigate the incident. Mkhwebane's office said it received two complaints "in which she is requested to investigate the matter.

"The Public Protector is considering the matter for investigation", spokesperson Oupa Segalwe told News24 on Friday.

Segalwe said the Public Protector received complaints from the Freedom Front Plus and lobby group, AfriForum.

- Compiled by Adiel Ismail

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