Defence minister to appear before MPs over Zim trip debacle, Newsline

The defence committee has confirmed that Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula will appear before MPs in the next few weeks.

This follows a huge public outcry over the use of an air force jet to fly ANC leaders to Zimbabwe.

Mapisa-Nqakula was to hold a meeting with her counterpart in that country.

The ANC has committed to refund the state for the trip. According to the official opposition the trip would have cost R260 000, but this excludes landing rights.

Some opposition parties have called on the National Treasury to do a cost analysis for the trip and bill the ANC.

They also want parliament to have an oversight on the matter.

On Tuesday chairperson of the defence committee Cyril Xaba confirmed they will meet with Mapisa-Nqakula on the matter in mid-October.

Xaba said he did not want to prejudge the matter until Mapisa-Nqakula has given her full explanation to the defence committee.

He said he did not want to jump the gun on what Mapisa-Nqakula will tell MPs.

“I can’t say what is in there. I can’t say whether we are concerned or not concerned,” he said, adding that they will wait for the minister’s briefing before taking a position.

But DA MP Kobus Marais said they have been urging the committee to call Mapisa-Nqakula to explain her trip to Zimbabwe and transporting ANC members.

He said this was a state jet and the minister had breached the law.

He said she must be held accountable for her actions.

“The DA welcomes the decision by the chairperson of the portfolio committee on defence and military veterans, Cyril Xaba, to grant our request for the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, to account to Parliament,” said Marais.

He said there were a number of questions that Mapisa-Nqakula has to answer.

President Cyril Ramaphosa had ordered an explanation from the minister on the use of the air force jet to fly the ANC to Zimbabwe.

The ANC was travelling to Zimbabwe to meet with Zanu-PF over the crisis in that country.

In his decision Ramaphosa docked the minister’s salary for three months and also reprimanded her.

Political Bureau