R10m a year spent on flights for ex cabinet ministers, MPs, says DA as it calls on AG to investigate

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(Photo by Gallo Images/Jeffrey Abrahams)
(Photo by Gallo Images/Jeffrey Abrahams)
  • The DA has written to the Office of the Auditor-General requesting an investigation into Parliament's expenditure on flights for former cabinet ministers.
  • According to data the DA collated, Parliament has spent around R10 million annually to pay for the luxury flights.
  • Opposition MPs who served in government were also found to be racking up high travel costs.

The DA has called on the Auditor-General to investigate Parliament for spending millions on jet-setting former cabinet ministers.

This followed reports of former ministers and their spouses who continue to fly business class at the expense of cash-strapped taxpayers.

According to data the DA collated, Parliament had spent around R10 million annually to pay for the luxury flights.

READ | R25 million to refurbish parliamentary kitchens? 'Not in my name!' says Speaker Modise

In a statement, DA spokesperson on public service and administration, Leon Schreiber, said Malusi Gigaba and his spouse, received R200 413 for flights.

He also said:

  • Former energy minister Tina Joematt-Pettersson received R443 850 to finance her flights;
  • Former finance minister Des van Rooyen got R242 015 for flights;
  • Fikile Mbalula and his spouse received R183 920 in flight tickets; and
  • Former ANC Western Cape leader Marius Fransman received R94 261, while former State Security Minister Bongani Bongo got R78 000 in flight tickets.

Bongo is currently facing charges of bribery and corruption after allegedly trying to bribe a parliamentary official.

These amounts were totals for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 financial years.

Schreiber said some ANC members who belatedly pretended to speak out against corruption to save their own skins also scored big.

"Enoch Godongwana, who got R240 442 from the people of South Africa over the last two years. Derek Hanekom, who had no qualms about wasting R114 432 of taxpayer money on luxury flight tickets last year. Roelf Meyer, who used R224 966 in taxpayer money for flights over the last two years. Trevor Manuel, who milked taxpayers to the tune of R312 135 over the last two years and Mcebisi Jonas and his spouse, who spent R378 290 on luxury flights in two years," he said.

READ ALSO | MPs' villages in for a massive R88 million upgrade, Patricia De Lille confirms

Schreiber said it was, however, not only ANC members flying around the country on taxpayer expense.

"Pieter Mulder, former leader of the Freedom Front Plus and an enthusiastic member of the Zuma government, and his spouse used R144 795 in taxpayer money for business class tickets. Mosiuoa Lekota, leader of Cope, gladly accepted R74 777 in business class flights and Mosibudi Mangena, former leader of Azapo, spent R344 231," he said.

Screiber added:

Not only are these luxury flights an immoral and corrupt waste of money at a time when more South Africans than ever have been dumped into poverty by the policies of the very people who continue to live in luxury, but the DA also believes that the granting of these benefits is illegal.

In his letter to the AG, Schreiber said he believed the flights costs amounted to grossly irregular expenditure by Parliament.

"It thus appears that this benefit has been paid out throughout the 26 years of our democracy despite the fact that there is no legal basis for it whatsoever, while also flagrantly violating the constitutionally-mandated separation between the legislature and the executive," he said.

Parliament was yet to respond to a request for comment. 

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