South African President cracks whip, demands answers after ANC leaders flew to Zimbabwe in state aircraft


SOUTH African President Cyril Ramaphosa has given the country’s Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula 48 hours to provide an explanation on why top ANC officials flew to Zimbabwe in a government aircraft.

Opposition parties reacted with anger and demanded action after it emerged that ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and other top officials flew to Zimbabwe in a South African Defence Force plane. 

Magashule led an ANC delegation 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.

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 

South Africa’s Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

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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