DoD confirms payment for Harare flight


In a statement last month issued after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni indicated the ruling party had not yet settled its debt with government for a flight to Harare aboard an SA Air Force (SAAF) bizjet, the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans (DoDMV) confirmed payment was received.

The statement, to all intents and purposes, not distributed through SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Directorate: Corporate Communications, is posted on the Department of Defence website in the media releases portal of the site’s Defence Ministry component.

Dated 27 October and issued by Defence Corporate Communication with enquiries for the attention of Siphiwe Dlamini, Department of Defence (DoD) Head of Communication, it is two sentences in length.

It reads: “The Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans has noted a statement from the Democratic Alliance (DA) that the money for the flight to and from Zimbabwe has not been paid by the African National Congress (ANC).

“The Ministry of Defence can confirm that the money was paid on 30 September 2020 into the Departmental Account, which will subsequently be transferred to the National Revenue Fund. That process is underway.”

That is much what was inferred by President Cyril Ramaphosa during last week’s question and answer session in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). It is also supported by what Finance Minister Tito Mboweni told his Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow counterpart Geordin Hill-Lewis before the NCOP session. “Revenue due to the state flows to the National Revenue Fund (NRF) through the departments concerned before it is surrendered to the NRF. As it stands, the DoD is still working on the matter and will inform National Treasury accordingly once the matter is finalised,” was part of Mboweni’s response to Hill-Lewis.

One who is not finished with the Harare “lift” flight is the DA shadow defence and military veterans minister. Kobus Marais was the first public representative to shine a light on the 8 September flight with Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula aboard the 21 Squadron Falcon 900 (ZS-NAN) with a senior ANC delegation, including party secretary-general Ace Masgashule.

He has written to Mboweni seeking further information and clarification on the flight but has not yet had response.

“The only confirmation at this stage is the official confirmation by the Minister of Finance that the money is not yet received. The money owed by the ANC was never owed to the DoD but to the central revenue fund as the Defence minister and others should be aware,” was his reaction to the DoD statement.

Minister Mapisa-Nqakula was docked three months’ salary by President Cyril Ramaphosa for not following set down procedures. He also tasked her with ensuring the ANC paid the calculated just over R115 000 as its share of flight costs to Harare and back from AFB Waterkloof.