How much did we pay for Ramaphosa’s failed diplomatic PR stunt? - John Steenhuisen

DA leader to submit detailed questions over the debacle in Warsaw, Poland

How much did South Africans pay for Ramaphosa’s failed diplomatic PR stunt?

17 June 2023

Over the past two days, President Cyril Ramaphosa has disgraced South Africa on the global stage.

Not only did the Presidency lie about being unaware of missile strikes on Kyiv while Ramaphosa’s so-called peace mission was in town, but his administration’s sheer incompetence caused a planeload full of his bodyguards, journalists and apparently unauthorised weapons to be denied entry to both Poland and Ukraine.

Cyril Ramaphosa must be held accountable for the millions of Rands in taxpayer funds wasted on his failed PR stunt.

The DA is submitting a series of urgent parliamentary questions to determine the full cost to the people of South Africa of this shambolic political stunt.

We will be submitting a full set of questions to the Presidency to obtain a detailed breakdown of the security detail accompanying President Ramaphosa on this trip, as well as the total cost to the South Africa taxpayer;

We will also be submitting a question the President asking whether he stands by the cries of racism levelled at Polish authorities by his disgraced security chief, Wally Rhoode, who is also a prime suspect in the Phala Phala scandal.

It appears that Ramaphosa’s ill-fated airplane did not have authorisation to enter the airspace of various countries, while dangerous and undeclared weapons and goods may also have been on board. Covering up its own incompetence by shouting “racism” is something the ANC is used to at home. But on the global stage, it will simply hasten our country’s return to a pariah state.

We will be submitting questions to the National Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, to determine what ammunition and other materials were sourced and loaded onto the aircraft, as well as the cost of all materials;

Finally, I will be writing to the South African Auditor General requesting that the cost of this peacekeeping trip be declared as fruitless and wasteful expenditure, given the fact that due diligence was not carried out on the part of the South African state.

It is now clear for all to see that this trip was designed to spin the utterly incompetent Ramaphosa out of trouble over his ongoing support for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. He even flew an entire contingent of journalists to Europe in the obvious hope that they would help save his collapsed political image.

Ramaphosa’s ego trip to Europe has spectacularly backfired. Ukrainian President Volodomir Zelensky rejected his naive so-called peace plan for the theatrics it is. And instead of polishing his rapidly-fading image, the journalists on board his plane were treated disgracefully due to the hubris and incompetence of Cyril Ramaphosa.

While President Cyril Ramaphosa tears up the South African Constitution on a podium in Eastern Europe, South Africans back home are beyond appalled at his wilful oblivion to the plight of the Ukrainian people at the mercy of Russian imperialism and aggression.

The ANC may see no problem in siding with global despots and warmongers, but the people of South Africa still believe in freedom, democracy, sovereignty, and human rights.

Statement issued by John Steenhuisen MP - Leader of the Democratic Alliance, 17 June 2023