South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, also commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces, deems the Harare “lift” flight issue over.
Replying in writing to a question from Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow public service and administration minister Leon Schreiber, the President indicates he does not intend taking any further action.
“I deem the reprimand given to the Minister (of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula), the directive that three months’ salary be donated to the Solidarity Fund and the obligation to ensure the costs of the trip are reimbursed by the political party – which has been done – sufficient sanction,” the Presidential response reads, in part.
Ramaphosa also tells the DA parliamentarian: “The international trip undertaken by the Minister was approved by me on 8 September 2020. As I was not in Gauteng at the time of receipt of the request, approval was verbal and the relevant documentation was signed as soon as possible thereafter.
“While the request did not comply with the requirement in the Guide for Members of the Executive that requests should be made at least two weeks prior to departure, this is, unfortunately, not an uncommon occurrence due to the pressures of state work.”
While the country’s first citizen sees the flight and attendant issues as dealt with and over there are still questions awaiting answers on the September flight to and from Harare when Mapisa-Nqakula apparently “gave a lift” to a senior ANC delegation. One is a letter Kobus Marais, DA shadow defence and military veterans minister, addressed to Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, and the other is a Freedom Front Plus (FF+) request to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to investigate.