Public protector roped in after SANDF flew ANC delegation to Zimbabwe

10 September 2020 - 16:10 By aphiwe deklerk
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule was among the delegation that travelled to Zimbabwe.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule was among the delegation that travelled to Zimbabwe.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald says he will lodge a formal complaint with the office of the public protector after defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula offered her ANC colleagues a lift on an SANDF aircraft to Zimbabwe.

Groenewald slammed the ANC in a statement on Thursday for breaking the lockdown rules by travelling to Zimbabwe and further said the party should pay back the costs of the flight.

This comes after ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule was interviewed at Waterkloof Air Force base shortly after landing with his delegation from a meeting with the ruling Zanu-PF.

The ANC delegation sent to Zimbabwe and headed by the ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule not only violates the lockdown regulations, but is also misusing tax money as they are travelling with the Falcon 900 aircraft of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). 

Certain ANC members’ trip to Zimbabwe is not an official government visit, it is in fact one political party (ANC) paying a visit to another political party (Zanu-PF) in Zimbabwe,said Groenewald.

He said lockdown regulations imposed in terms of the national disaster stipulated that all international travel was prohibited, except in exceptional cases and only if approval was obtained beforehand.

In addition to that a military aeroplane is being used without authorisation to transport ANC party members to Zimbabwe for party-political matters. This is nothing but the blatant misuse of tax money and corruption. The ANC must repay the costs,” said Groenewald.

He said he would lodge a formal complaint with the public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's office and request that the ANC's misuse of tax money must be investigated”.

Groenewald further promised that he would pose parliamentary questions on whether approval was granted for the visit.

Defence spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said in a statement that the ANC meeting in Zimbabwe had coincided with a meeting of defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

“[Mapisa-Nqakula] 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.

The ANC delegation was going to deal with issues that are having a direct impact on South Africa. This is not a common occurrence and has never happened before,” said Dlamini.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe could not be reached for comment at the time of publishing.  

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