Parties slam defence minister’s ’hollow’ report about ANC’s military jet trip to Zim, Newsline

Durban – Opposition parties in Parliament have slammed Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s report about the controversial trip to Zimbabwe, saying it raised more questions than answers, with one MP describing it as ’’hollow’.

President Cyril Ramaphosa made the report public on Wednesday after a public outcry about how ANC officials were transported on a military jet to Zimbabwe.

In her report to Ramaphosa, Mapisa-Nqakula explained the purpose of the visit and said the trip cost more than R232 000 and the ANC would have to pay R105 000.

In the report Mapisa-Nqakula said the urgency of the situation required she travelled to Zimbabwe.

“The challenges in Zimbabwe have been matters of discussion with our government and our ruling party, the ANC, for quite some time and successive administrations in government and the party have had to deal with it.

“Against this background and for compelling national interests the president directed that there be a delegation of members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) to visit Zimbabwe,” wrote Mapisa-Nqakula.

“Given the current Covid-19 pandemic and attendant prohibition of normal air flights, especially cross-border, it was deemed fit that since I would be undertaking the trip to meet with my counterpart the other members could be ferried on the aircraft I was to use as there would not been any other means for them to travel with land and air borders closed,” she said in the report.

But opposition parties were outraged and dismissed the report saying there were more questions than answers.

DA MP Kobus Marais said there were a lot of discrepancies in the report from the date of the meeting to the return date.

He said it seemed there was also a coincidence between the meeting of the ANC with Zanu-PF and Mapisa-Nqakula with her counterpart on the same dates.

“There are more questions in both reports. It seems there were so many coincidences if I look at the correspondence because on 7 September it’s only then she wrote to her counterpart in Zimbabwe, who is also the chairperson of Zanu-PF,” said Marais.

He said it was not clear how the department of defence arrived at the cost of R105 000 for the ANC to pay the state.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said Mapisa-Nqakula had abused her position as minister in ferrying fellow ANC members.

“If the ministers are flouting the rules and regulations, who else must we have confidence in. We don’t have any contract with Mapisa-Nqakula, the balance of probability is there to show her the door,” said Holomisa, adding this was a cover-up.

IFP MP and national spokesperson, Mkhuleko Hlengwa, also said the report raised more questions and said they needed to follow up on this with Mapisa-Nqakula.

“The shallowness of the report raises more questions than answers. It is unfortunate and regrettable that the president is satisfied with this hollow report,” said Hlengwa.

Political Bureau