ANC Zim flight: DA launches PAIA application to force release of report

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Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24
  • The DA will bring a PAIA application to compel President Cyril Ramaphosa to release the report into the ANC's Zimbabwean trip on a military jet.
  • The ANC study group on defence were briefed by Defence Minister Nosiviwe-Mapisa-Nqakula and resolved to take the matter to the Portfolio Committee on Defence.
  • The study group were also briefed on the Department of Defence's Covid-19 procurement and found no "glaring deficiencies".  

The DA will apply terms of the Promotion to Access to Information Act (PAIA) to compel President Cyril Ramaphosa to release the report into the ANC's use of an air force jet for a trip to Zimbabwe.

This after Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula briefed the ANC study group on defence on Friday evening on the trip.The study group consists of the ANC MPs serving on the Portfolio Committee on Defence, and such meetings are not open to public scrutiny.

READ | Will Parliament take action after ANC pays back money for junket to Zim on air force jet?

In a statement released on Sunday, ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina said Mapisa-Nqakula, "indicated that the working visit to Zimbabwe is now a subject of an investigation by the Public Protector and her Office is cooperating with the investigation.

"It is on that bases that the SG (study group) resolved that the chairperson of the PC on Defence should convene a PC meeting so that the minister can brief the PC taking into consideration the fact that the matter is investigated by the Public Protector," reads the statement.

"We support the decision taken by the component of the NEC of the ANC to pay the cost of their travel to Zimbabwe to conduct important work in support of human rights. We wish to abide by the democratic centralism of our beloved movement.

READ | ANC to pay back the money for Zim flight

"On the same breath we wish to dismiss the call made by the DA that extra cost should be made [sic]to the ANC as if the jet was not on its way to Zimbabwe. The trip was already scheduled whether the ANC delegation was on board or not, the jet was on its way for ministers' bilateral meeting."

DA MP and spokesperson on defence Kobus Marais said it is unacceptable that Mapisa-Nqakula reports to the ANC, but South Africans are left in the dark.

"It has become common in the ANC to play both the judge and the jury in an unashamed attempt to escape accountability," Marais said, in a statement.

Gathering dust

After a public outcry over the "lift" Mapisa-Nqakula gave to ANC comrades including Ace Magashule, Tony Yengeni, and Nomvula Mokonyane, who holds no public office and are civilians, on the military jet, Ramaphosa instructed Mapisa-Nqakula to provide him with a report on the matter.

The DA has previously asked that the report be released, but to no avail.

"This report is already gathering dust on President Ramaphosa’s desk. It must be made public," Marais said."We cannot allow a situation where a report, potentially detailing a flagrant abuse of scarce state resources is viewed and decided upon by President Ramaphosa alone, whose track record in holding his ANC comrades accountable for corruption is depressing."

According to Majodina's statement, the study group were also briefed on the management of Covid–19 funds by the Department of Defence following the release of the first in a series of reports by the Auditor General (AG).

The study group didn't find any "glaring deficiencies" with the department's Covid-19 procurement, based on the AG report.  

Earlier this month, the ANC caucus resolved not to support the EFF and DA's calls for the establishment of an ad hoc committee to probe all Covid-19 procurement.

City Press reported that at that caucus meeting, the party planned to have ministers brief study groups to ensure they have a common approach when the cases are heard before portfolio committees. This is to avoid embarrassment to the party and an attempt to control the narrative.

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