The Freedom Front Plus says the African National Congress (ANC) delegation that went to Zimbabwe to have a meeting with their counterpart Zanu-PF broke the lockdown regulations.
The FF-Plus also wants the ANC to pay back the cost of the trip to Zimbabwe which its delegation undertook on a South African National Defence Force (SANDF) military jet.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has given Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula 48 hours to give reasons why she shared a flight to Harare Zimbabwe with a senior ANC delegation.
In this video below, Mapisa-Nqakula is requested to submit report after sharing a flight with ANC delegation to Zimbabwe:
There has also been mixed reaction from other parties and the South African Defence Union over the controversial trip.
The ANC delegation led by party Secretary-General Ace Magashule, met with officials from the Zimbabwe governing ZANU-PF this week following allegations of human rights violations in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.
FF-Plus leader Pieter Groenewald says his party has laid two complaints and wants an explanation on how Home Affairs gave authorisation for ANC members to leave the country on a trip under lockdown.
”I already submitted a complaint to the Pubic Protector and I also submitted questions in Parliament because I want to see what the cost is. And the ANC will have to pay that costs. They cannot misuse taxpayer’s money to promote and enhance party political aims and with counterparts in Zimbabwe. Secondly, they have violated the lockdown regulations. The regulations are very clear that only the Minister for Home Affairs may authorise such visit to another country over international borders and it is also clear that it is only permitted in cases for instance if there is an emergency medical attention for a life threatening condition or for evacuation of a South African National, or the repatriation of of a foreign national to his or her country of nationality or for permanent residence.”
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on President Ramaphosa to clarify why ANC-led delegation was able to fly to Zimbabwe, using an SANDF Airforce jet.
DA Spokesperson on Defence, Kobus Marais also want Defence Minister to be reprimanded.
“Since when do the jets of the air force 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 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 apologize 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.”
Also the ANC Spokesperson, Pule Mabe gave the party’s own explanation on why they had to get to Zimbabwbe.
“The mission for which the ANC leadership was going to Zimbabwe was not an ordinary one. It had a lot to do with regional stability and for the ANC-led government to begin to work towards finding a solution. Instead of us looking at what was achieved by this delegation in Zimbabwe, all eyes have shifted on what was used to get to Zimbabwe? I thought that it was regional stability that we were foremost concerned about.”
The South African National Defence Union told SABC radio station SAFM that it does not believe that there is a problem with ANC officials using SANDF aircraft to fly to Zimbabwe.
SANDU’s National Secretary Pikkie Greef gave his explanation why SANDU is not against it.
“I don’t think it is a problem, not in the context of this trip and I say that with the qualification that this trip is supposedly about containing the situation in Zimbabwe and discussing the concerns that we have on this side of the border and trying to be proactive. One can say well the air force plane could also probably be used in certain circumstances, even though there are private individuals on it, it all depends on what the reason is for that trip. We must bear in mind the purpose of the trip and lets be fair, there are no commercial flights to Zimbabwe in this lockdown level.”
Meanwhile the EFF wants President Ramaphosa to immediately suspend Mapisa-Nqakula, while the UDM Women’s Organisation wants her to resign.
However in a statement released by the Presidency, President Ramaphosa says the Minister 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.