The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has called for Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to be suspended with immediate effect over the use of a South African National Defence Force (SANDF) jet to fly an African National Congress (ANC) led delegation to Zimbabwe.
The ANC has sought to explain the use of the jet – saying there is a need for regional stability.
The delegation met with officials from the ruling ZANU-PF this week – following allegations of human rights violations amid the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.
The EFF condemns the incident as an abuse of state resources and says the ANC does not grasp the notion of the separation of powers between the party and the state.
The EFF has further called on the ANC to compensate the state for what it says was illegal use of resources.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to clarify why an ANC-led delegation was able to fly to Zimbabwe using an SANDF Airforce jet.
DA spokesperson on defence, Kobus Marais also wants Minister Mapisa-Nqakula to be reprimanded.
“I think it is ludicrous. Since when do the jets of the Airforce give lifts to friends and colleagues and cadres? That is not the intention, not what the legislation says or what the constitution says. There must be a separation between party and state and this is certainly blurring the lines.”
“It smells like corruption. I think it is very important that the Commander In Chief must show his leadership and he must reprimand the minister. He must come out and apologise to the country. He is not only the Commander In Chief of the SANDF. He is the President and he is also the leader of the ANC.”
Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa has given Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula 48 hours to give reasons why she shared a flight to Harare, Zimbabwe, with a senior ANC delegation.
The Presidency says Ramaphosa notes the public discussion which was generated around the flight.
In a statement, President Ramaphosa says the Minister had had permission to travel to Zimbabwe to meet her counterpart to discuss defence-related matters in the region, following a recent SADC summit.
He says in the interest of good governance and the prudent and ethical use of state assets, the Minister should provide a detailed report within 48 hours on the circumstances around the flight and the passenger list.
President Ramaphosa says he welcomes the interest shown by South Africans in this matter.
He says this is an indication of the nation’s vigilance against allegations of improper deployment of public resources.