The Democratic Alliance (DA) has claimed that the African National Congress’ (ANC) needs to pay approximately R260,000 for using a government-sponsored jet to conduct its party affairs.
The matter had caused outrage among political parties and civil society organisations when it came to light that the ANC delegates used the South African Air Force (SAAF) jet on their visit to Harare to meet with Zanu-PF over the unrest in Zimbabwe.
The jet was which was used to ferry Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
In a statement on Wednesday, DA MP Kobus Marais said the flight cost R260,000 excluding landing rights, parking fees or on-board catering after the jet flew from Pretoria or Johannesburg to Harare, Zimbabwe.
Marais, who is also the DA’s shadow minister of defence, said the matter was according to “two independent companies that are experts in the field of luxury travel”.
“The amount that the ANC will have to pay back after its delegation abused public funds to illegally travel to Zimbabwe and back aboard the air force’s Falcon-900 aircraft will therefore amount to even more than this.
“However, until Treasury, in the interest of accountability and transparency, has confirmed the total amount, and explained how and when the ANC will repay the money, the DA, as well as the public, can merely speculate,” he said.
He said the DA calls on Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni and National Treasury to break their silence on the matter and tell the public how much the ANC delegation needed to pay back, how did National Treasury come to a conclusion on the amount and what were the terms of the repayment.
“While many law-abiding citizens have had to pay fines and were criminalised by the government during the lockdown for simply going surfing or taking a jog, ANC members thought it within their set of special rules to board a State aircraft to attend party business.
“The ANC’s repayment of this money does not in any way absolve the party of the criminality of their actions. We will pursue this matter until all involved have been held to account to the full extent of the law.
“The DA will not allow the ANC to continue to abuse their power and loot our state resources.”
On Monday, Marais had said the DA would submit an application to President Cyril Ramaphosa to force him to release the report over the flight’s details in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA).
He claimed the party had previously requested the president to release the report, but without any response.
The ANC was unreachable by the time of publication. Article will be updated as soon as a comment is received.
(Compiled by Molefe Seeletsa)