PRETORIA – Defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has provided President Cyril Ramaphosa with a report on the circumstances that led to ANC officials flying to Zimbabwe for a fact-finding mission on an SA Air Force aircraft.
Defence spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said the report was completed and signed off at the weekend. The presidency, however, said it would only comment on the matter once Ramaphosa had considered the report.
On Friday, the president had given Mapisa-Nqakula 48 hours to explain the circumstances around the flight to Harare. This comes as Ramaphosa has drawn a line in the sand when it comes to issues of corruption and abuse of state resources.
The DA, which raised concern last week about ANC officials using state resources to travel, called on Ramaphosa to make the report public and hand it to parliament for scrutiny, in the interest of transparency.
On Thursday, Mapisa-Nqakula’s department defended its decision to fly the party officials to Zimbabwe, saying it coincided with a meeting between the minister and her counterpart in that country.
An ANC delegation, led by secretary-general Ace Magashule, visited Zimbabwe last week on a fact-finding mission, with instructions from Ramaphosa to meet all parties involved.
Mapisa-Nqakula was part of the delegation, along with party chair Gwede Mantashe and national executive committee (NEC) members Tony Yengeni, Lindiwe Zulu and Enoch Godongwana.
The ANC officials have been accused of breaking lockdown regulations, as SA’s borders are currently closed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Last week, Ramaphosa said Mapisa-Nqakula had permission to travel to Zimbabwe to meet her counterpart to discuss defence-related matters in the region.
The ANC’s head of the subcommittee on international relations, Lindiwe Zulu, would not answer questions on Power FM’s Power Talk with Aldrin Sampear on Monday morning, saying the defence minister would provide clarity on the matter.
The Zimbabwean government, under President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been accused of corruption and human rights abuses, including a brutal crackdown on critics. The country is also saddled with an inflation rate above 800%, unemployment of 85% and a surge in the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths.
This was the second team from SA to visit Zimbabwe in as many months, allegedly on fact-finding missions. In early August, former speaker Baleka Mbete and former ministers Sydney Mufamadi and Ngoako Ramatlhodi visited Zimbabwe, but returned empty-handed after Zimbabwe officials would not allow them to meet opposition parties or civic organisations.
Source: Business Live