UPDATE | ANC to reimburse govt for party delegation's Zim trip on airforce jet

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  • The ANC says it will reimburse the government for the costs which a party delegation incurred when it jumped aboard an airforce jet to Zimbabwe.
  • This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa wrote to Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and demanded an explanation.
  • ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule said "we humble ourselves where we went wrong".

The ANC will reimburse the government for costs incurred by a party delegation for a trip to Zimbabwe to meet Zanu-PF leaders, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule said. 

In a statement on Tuesday, Magashule said: "We travelled in an unusual manner and profusely humble ourselves where we went wrong during the lockdown and will reimburse the government for the costs incurred on behalf of our delegation. Our delegation is under quarantine in line with our lockdown regulations."

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This comes after the DA and the EFF criticised the party for using an airforce jet for the trip and called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to explain.

Ramaphosa also wrote to Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Friday and demanded a response within 48 hours. 

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

He also noted the public backlash and said it was a sign of the nation's vigilance against allegations of abuse of public resources.

In an interview with News24 last week, national executive committee member Dakota Legoete, who was part of the delegation, said the use of an airforce jet was "not a mistake". 

"How can it be a mistake when between five to seven million people are about to face starvation? How can it be a mistake when about over 4 million people have crossed the border? They are in our shores.

"How can it be a mistake when we are likely to face an outrage of xenophobic attacks on Zimbabweans because they are tussling for manual labour with South Africans?" Legoete asked.

He added that the ANC delegation "took a lift a on a plane because we had a burden of responsibility as South Africa because there is Covid-19 and no commercial or international flights are available".  

Legoete said Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu and Mapisa-Nqakula were meeting with their counterparts in Zimbabwe about challenges the two countries faced.

"For inaction, the ANC is going to be blamed. For action, the ANC will be equally blamed. People forget we are African, with African value systems," he said.

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