Cyril Ramaphosa under fire over ANC delegation 'hitching ride' on air force jet
President Cyril Ramaphosa is under fire over the use of an SANDF jet to ferry the ANC delegation led by party secretary-general Ace Magashule to a meeting in Zimbabwe with that country's governing party.
DA MP on the defence portfolio committee, Kobus Marais, said he was astounded that Ramaphosa continued to be silent on the matter as the commander-in-chief of the SANDF 48-hours after the “scandalous revelations”.
Confronted by the media this week, the SANDF confirmed that the ANC delegation sent by the party on a political mission in Harare had been on board a state military jet.
The FF Plus said on Thursday that it would ask the office of the public protector to probe the matter.
The defence force said the ANC delegation was given a lift by defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who had an official trip coinciding with that of governing party officials.
PODCAST | 'It's ANC first' - misuse of state funds continues
Here is a full statement by Kobus Marais on the developments:
“More than 48 hours have now passed since the scandalous revelation that ANC party officials used a state military jet like an ‘Uber’ to Harare, on party business.
“Yet President Ramaphosa remains absolutely silent, and is ignoring urgent calls to speak up and take action against these senior ANC cadres. Ramaphosa is both commander in chief of the SANDF, and head of the ANC, and thus enjoined to make an urgent public statement on how his party has illegally benefited from an aircraft of the state he leads.
“Why is Ramaphosa still silent on this matter?
“Less than two weeks ago, Ramaphosa announced with great fanfare that the ANC will be drawing a line in the sand against corruption.
“Yet the president has not said a single word about his party's most recent transgression.
“In his letter to ANC structures on Sunday August 23, Ramaphosa lamented the fact that the ANC stands in the dock for corruption 'as accused No. 1'.
“What emerges more clearly with each passing day is that Ramaphosa is powerless to stop the rampant corruption and theft by the ANC, and the ANC will forever remain accused no 1 when it comes to corruption.
“I want to remind President Ramaphosa of the facts of this matter:
- A delegation of ANC members, led by secretary-general Ace Magashule, flew to Zimbabwe in a state-owned jet at the taxpayers' expense. This is a flagrant blurring of state and party lines and abuse of state machinery. It amounts to theft from the people, by the ANC;
- There is no response to our question of whether the delegation had the permission of the transport minister to undergo this trip, as dictated by level 2 lockdown regulations. If he did, we call for transparency and the documentation to be made public. If not, ANC officials have broken the lockdown regulations;
- There is no indication of who paid for the delegation's accommodation and other expenses; and
- There is no clarity on the real purpose of the minister of defence's trip to Zimbabwe, given that a previous Sadc troika meeting took place virtually.
“Ramaphosa can write a letter every day, for the next decade, about his commitment to eradicate corruption. But as long as he keeps quiet about incidents like this, it's just going to be empty words.”