NEWS & ANALYSIS

Questions over SANDF-ANC plane ride to Harare – Kobus Marais

DA MP asks whether the ANC delegation onboard received the necessary clearance from Fikile Mbalula

More questions about SANDF 'Uber' plane ride to Zim demand answers from Ramaphosa

10 September 2020

Since the news broke of the ANC’s SANDF plane ride to Harare, commandeering a military jet like an Uber to meet with ZANU-PF officials, more questions continue to emerge about the legality of such a trip, especially during the State of Disaster and Covid Level 2 lockdown regulations.

The pressure on President Cyril Ramaphosa is mow mounting to urgently explain the following:

Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, like any cabinet Minister, has "evergreen clearance" to travel internationally on official state business. Her trip to Zimbabwe on official business (presumably to meet her counterpart to prepare for a SADC troika meeting) was legal according to the regulations.

Yet, the issue is with her entourage, the ANC delegation.

Under Level 2 restrictions "all international passenger flights are prohibited, except those flights authorized by the Minister of Transport".

The DA wants to know: Did the ANC delegation seek this clearance from Fikile Mbalula? Was it granted? Where is the documentation to support this?

Furthermore, according to the ANC Secretary General, Ace Magashule, the minister traveled to Zimbabwe "to meet her counterpart in preparation for a SADC troika meeting and the UN reconfiguration of the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB), which comprises troops from the SADC region".

Yet, Zimbabwe does not contribute troops to FIB (only South Africa, Malawi and Tanzania does). Zimbabwe is also no longer chairing the SADC. This is now Mozambique.

So why was the meeting necessary?

What's more, on 5 August 2020, there was a virtual SADC troika meeting where the President participated. Why, then, could this meeting not also take place virtually?

Lastly, the DA calls for full explanation of exactly who the ANC members met with and what the purpose of the meetings were. We also want to know where they stayed during their visit to Zimbabwe and who footed the bill for their accommodation and other expenses?

The DA calls on President Ramaphosa, as the Head of the ANC and Government as well as the SANDF Commander-in-Chief to make a public statement and answer these questions.

We also call on the ANC to immediately pay back the money that SANDF spent on transporting its party delegation to Zimbabwe.

The DA will continue to investigate this outrageous incident.

Issued by Kobus Marais, DA Shadow Minister of Defence, 10 September 2020