There are mixed reactions to president Cyril Ramaphosa’s action against Defence Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. The president says there was an “error of judgment” on the side of the minister, when she gave a lift to top African National Congress (ANC) leaders to Zimbabwe earlier this month.
Mapisa-Nqakula will lose her three months’ salary to the Solidarity Fund for COVID-19. However, many say the President could have done more to show his authority.
President @CyrilRamaphosa has issued the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula with a formal reprimand for conveying an African National Congress (ANC) delegation to Zimbabwe on an South African Air Force (SAAF) aircraft. https://t.co/PV5yRu24bs
— Presidency | South Africa 🇿🇦 (@PresidencyZA) September 27, 2020
The Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow minister of Defence, Kobus Marais, says this is not good enough.
“The president has downplayed this abuse of state resources, by stating it was an error of judgment, he himself admitted the minister did not act in the manner that talks to good governance – that she failed to act according legal transcripts warranting care in use of state resources – and that she acted in a way that is inconsistent with her position. These are damning findings against the minster and yet she gets this slap on the wrist.”
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP ) says more people within the Defence department must face the music. Party spokesperson, Mkhuleko Hlengwa, says Mapisa-Nqakula couldn’t have taken the decision alone and thus more heads must roll.
“The president seems to have jumped quite a number of steps into arriving at sanctioning her which of course must happen. By the absence of transparency in the process, actually has no credibility to what the president has done because the minister was not the only one who violated the constitution which has been a deliberate part in the ANC to ignore the separation of party and state.”
Congress of the People (COPE ) spokesperson, Dennis Bloem, says the Minister’s salary must go to an NGO as it stands to be stolen if it goes to the Solidarity Fund.
“We disagree that this money must go to the solidarity fund because we know that people are going to steal this money. It’s where corruption is taking place. So this three months’ salary of the minister must go to an NGO or a place where destitute people are housed.”
United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader, General Bantu Holomisa says the minister of defence must be fired immediately.
“You will recall that it is the same minister who gave a lift to her son’s girlfriend from Congo, the Guptas Waterkloof airforce landing happened under her watch, the killing of Alex Khosa of Alexander and her conflicting statements is there for everybody to see.”
Political analyst Professor Somadoda Fikeni says it’s obvious that politics are at play.
“That the minister of Defence chose to give a lift as she said to the top leadership of the ANC, already meant that this was a very delicate matter, where firing Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula would have galvanised those leaders against the president, where his hold on power is already problematic and be curious. So docking the salary and also signaling that the ANC should pay back – that is as far it can go.”
Mixed reaction to ANC’s Zimbabwe trip reimbursement:
The ANC is yet to respond to the President’s decision on the matter.