PARTY

Sisulu in VIP flight cost cover-up? - Maynier

DA MP asks why defence minister is refusing to divulge information

Parliamentary replies: Sisulu covering up massive cost of VIP flights?

The Democratic Alliance (DA) believes that the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, is trying to cover up the huge costs incurred to fly VIPs, including President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and herself, overseas and around South Africa.

Last month the minister refused to provide full information about flights undertaken by President Zuma.

Now the minister is refusing to provide full information about flights undertaken by Deputy President Motlanthe and herself.

Replies to parliamentary questions reveal that the Deputy President undertook 5 international flights and 51 domestic flights. Of the 56 flights undertaken, 3 flights were chartered by the South African Air Force.

However, the minister refused to provide details about the routing and costs of the flights undertaken by Mr. Motlanthe.

Moreover, the minister refused to provide full information about her own flights and simply recycled a reply to a previous parliamentary question which dodges crucial pieces of information including:

-- the total cost and a breakdown of the cost of the flights undertaken by the minister; and

-- whether the defence force are chartering aircraft for the minister, and if so, at what cost the aircraft are being chartered.

The fact is that detailed information about these flights - including information about the routing and costs of the flights - has been made available in the past.

Why is information about the flights - especially the costs of the flights - being hidden from ordinary South Africans?

Moreover, why are South Africans not entitled to know whether aircraft are being chartered for the minister?

And if aircraft are being chartered, why are we not entitled to know how much is being forked out to charter the aircraft.

The bottom line is that South Africanns have a right to know how much is being spent by the defence department on flights for VIPs including President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu.

The DA will, therefore, be submitting these and other unanswered parliamentary questions to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Max Sisulu, so that the minister's refusal to properly answer questions can be taken up directly with her.

Statement issued by David Maynier, MP, Democratic Alliance shadow minister of defence and military veterans, November 8 2010

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