President Cyril Ramaphosa.
- According to Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s calculations, the ANC should pay the state R105 000 for their trip aboard an air force jet to Zimbabwe.
- This is revealed in the documentation on the matter that the Presidency published on Wednesday.
- The DA says Mapisa-Nqakula’s “gross under-calculation” is not nearly enough.
The ANC has been slapped with a bill of more than R105 000 for its officials’ trip to Zimbabwe aboard an air force jet with Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
This is according to one of Mapisa-Nqakula’s reports on the matter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, which the Presidency published on Wednesday due to Ramaphosa’s “commitment to transparency”.
Amid the public outcry after the news broke that ANC senior officials Ace Magashule, Tony Yengeni, Nomvula Mokonyane, Enoch Godongwana and Dakota Lekgoete were given a “lift”, along with Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, to Zimbabwe earlier this month, Ramaphosa instructed Mapisa-Nqakula to provide him with a report on the matter.
The ANC delegation met with the ruling ZANU-PF party in Harare.
This initial report didn’t provide much detail on the flight itself, and largely contained Mapisa-Nqakula’s justification for giving her comrades a lift to Zimbabwe.
It also included a letter from Mapisa-Nqakula to her Zimbabwean counterpart, informing her of the intended visit, and a letter from the chief legal advisor in the Presidency granting permission for the flight.
Ramaphosa then asked for a second report.
This included a breakdown of the costs and the invoice to the ANC.
According to Mapisa-Nqakula, the total cost for the flight was R232 200.
Altogether, there were 11 passengers on the flight, meaning the cost per person is R21 109 09.
The passengers’ costs carried by the state is for Mapisa-Nqakula, her assistant, her protector and two medical doctors, and Zulu.
The costs for Magashule, Yengeni, Mokonyane, Lekgoete and Godongwana amount to R105 545 46.
From public statements since the trip, it appears that Zulu attended the meeting with Zanu-PF.
There is no mention of an assistant or protector for Zulu on the list of passengers for the trip.
In her draft affidavit to the Public Protector, which was included in her second report to Ramaphosa, Mapisa-Nqakula stated that she, too, attended the meeting with Zanu-PF.
‘Not nearly enough’
The DA rejected Mapisa-Nqakula’s “gross under-calculations in determining the amount the ANC has to repay for abusing an air force Falcon-900 aircraft”.
According to DA MP Kobus Marais, R105 545 46 “is not nearly enough for this brazen abuse of power and rare state resources”.
The DA last week asked two independent companies, who are experts in the field of private international travel, to request the cost of chartering an 18-seater private jet from Pretoria or Johannesburg to Harare, Zimbabwe.
“The amount, only for the flight itself, came to approximately R260 000. It did not even include payments for landing rights, parking fees or on-board catering – meaning that the figure is much higher,” said Marais.
The information provided in Mapisa-Nqakula’s report did not include payments for landing rights and parking fees.
“Minister Mapisa-Nqakula has grossly under-calculated the total cost, based on irrelevant formulas. She also apportioned cost to the ANC based on the number of occupants.
“This does not make sense, given the fact that without the ANC onboard there would not have been a need for a massive air force jet in the first place,” Marais continued.
According to Mapisa-Nqakula’s second report to Ramaphosa, she would have used the Falcon 900 in any case, as the smaller Falcon 50 is reserved for domestic use only.
However, Marais argues that Mapisa-Nqakula usually uses the nine-seater jet for state visits to Zimbabwe and says the much bigger 18-seater jet was used for the specific purpose of accommodating the ANC delegation.
“The DA maintains that the ANC should at least repay R260 000,” said Marais.
“The minister’s audacity to think that South Africans will accept this R100 000 price tag is embarrassing. And President Cyril Ramaphosa should equally hang his head in shame for accepting Minister Mapisa-Nqakula’s pathetic report.”
In a late evening statement on Saturday, the Presidency announced that Ramaphosa has, after considering the reports, found that Mapisa-Nqakula made an error in judgement and docked three months of her pay.
He also instructed her to ensure that the ANC pays the costs, and to report to him when this has been done.
The ANC earlier indicated that it would reimburse the state.