South African Defence Minister submits report on ANC trip to Zimbabwe


SOUTH Africa’s Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has handed over a report to her boss, President Cyril Ramaphosa, which explains why she gave a lift to  ANC officials in a government aircraft on a trip to Zimbabwe.

In the face of strong criticism from opposition parties and civil society organisations, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday gave Mapisa-Nqakula 48 hours to provide an explanation. Mapisa-Nqakula sumbitted the report before the deadline expired.

Opposition parties reacted with anger and demanded action after it emerged that an ANC delegation which included secretary-general Ace Magashule, national executive committee members Lindiwe Zulu and Tony Yengeni flew to Zimbabwe in a South African Defence Force plane. 

The ANC delegation was on a political mission of the ANC to meet with Zanu-PF in Harare in an effort to find a political solution to the crisis in South Africa’s northern neighbour. The delegation did not meet with Zimbabwean opposition parties.

South African opposition parties and civil society organisations have demanded to know why a government plane was used for a political mission. The South African Defence Force has said that Mapisa-Nqakula was on official duty and shared the official aircraft because her trip coincided with the ANC’s political mission 

In a statement, the South African presidency said:  “President Cyril Ramaphosa has directed Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to furnish the President – within 48 hours – with a detailed report on the circumstances that led to the Minister sharing a flight to Harare, Zimbabwe, with a senior delegation of African National Congress leadership.

“The President notes the public discussion that has been generated around a flight to Harare by Minister Mapisa-Nqakula, who had permission to travel to Zimbabwe to meet her counterpart to discuss defence-related matters in the region following a recent SADC summit.

In the interest of good governance and the prudent and ethical use of state assets, the President has directed the Minister to provide a report within 48 hours that will set out the circumstances around the flight and the passenger list.

 “The President welcomes the interest shown by South Africans in this matter as an indication of the nation’s vigilance against allegations of improper deployment of public resources.”

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