The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans currently finds herself with an official Presidential reprimand on her record and without a salary as political opponents seek further redress for her use of a State asset as “a ride” for an ANC delegation.
Top of the list is the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) where party leader Pieter Groenewald requested Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to investigate various aspects of the flight to and from Harare on 8 September. They include contraventions of regulations in force pertaining to the national state of disaster as well as not complying with regulations set out in the Guide for Members of the Executive.
Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow defence and military veterans minister Kobus Marais is also not content with the sanction handed to Mapisa-Nqakula by President Cyril Ramaphosa. He has now approached Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to provide answers on other aspects of the flight undertaken by 21 Squadron’s Falcon 900 (ZS-NAN).
Marais wants Mboweni to provide “feedback and qualifications” on a number of points.
These include clarification as to whether Mapisa-Nqakula consulted with the Finance Minister in terms of the Defence Act. He asks: “In both reports the Minister of Defence submitted to the President not a single reference is made to any consultation with you. Can you confirm you were consulted and if so, what your response was? If you were not consulted, the expenses would be irregular, wasteful and unauthorised for the purpose the aircraft was used. Do you plan on taking any action against the Minister?”
Marais wants the Finance Minister to confirm “whether you (Mboweni) confirmed the calculations of the total costs related to this flight and whether you approved the amount to be invoiced to the ANC.”
There have been reports indicating the ANC paid the invoiced amount of R105 545.48. This has not been confirmed, as yet, by the Defence Ministry (as per a Presidential instruction) nor whether the money was paid to National Treasury or the Secretary for Defence, from whose office the invoice came.