Harare flight costs not yet paid – Mboweni

348

Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has not reported to President Cyril Ramaphosa on the ANC paying its share of the SA Air Force (SAAF) flight to Harare because the “account” hasn’t been settled.

That’s the inference from Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s response to a Parliamentary question received today (Friday, 23 October).

He told Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow finance minister Geordin Hill-Lewis “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 Department of Defence (DoD) is still working on the matter and will inform National Treasury accordingly once the matter is finalised”.

Minister Mboweni’s response appears to contradict the ANC’s confirmation earlier this month it had in fact paid back R105 000 to the Department of Defence and Military Veterans,” Kobus Marais, shadow defence and military veterans minister said when he saw the reply to his colleague’s question.

“The ANC delegation abused public funds to illegally travel to Zimbabwe and back aboard the Air Force’s Falcon 900 aircraft. With the aid of Minister Mapisa-Nqakula, the ANC flouted Defence and Treasury processes and disregarded level 2 lockdown regulations for own party political ends. They cannot be allowed to get away with a slap on the wrist and must repay every sent.

“The DA challenges the ANC to release proof of payment for the reimbursed funds. If there is nothing to hide then they could easily release proof before close of business today,” Marais added.

Mboweni’s response is yet another round in the saga of the September flight to Harare aboard the 21 Squadron bizjet.

A timeline of statements regarding the payment shows ANC Treasurer General Paul Mashatile reportedly saying the ANC paid its share of the flight, covering six ANC members given a ‘lift’ in the aircraft on October 11. “The Minister of Defence sent me an invoice a week ago and I (the ANC) paid. We paid 50% of flight costs because half the people on the flight were ANC and half were government. So we paid half, which was over a hundred thousand,” Mashatile is reported as having said. Before that ANC national spokesman Pule Mabe reportedly indicated the money was paid on October 1.

The most recent development, excluding Mboweni’s response, came from Mapisa-Nqakula last Friday. At a meeting of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence (JSCD) she reportedly “mentioned” the flight to South Africa’s northern neighbour and it cost but gave no detail of payment.