Lindiwe Sisulu blew R11m on luxury Gulfstream flights - David Maynier

DA MP says the then defence minister almost certainly contravened guidelines of Ministerial Handbook

Lindiwe Sisulu has blown R11 million travelling on ultra-luxury Gulfstream executive jets

We now know that nearly R11 million was blown by the Minister of Public Service and Administration, Lindiwe Sisulu, travelling on privately owned ultra-luxury Gulfstream jets, operated by the South African Air Force (SAAF), while serving as Defence and Military Veterans Minister, between 2009 and 2012 (see Sunday Times report).

This is a staggering abuse of public money and almost certainly contravenes the guidelines set out in the Handbook for Members of the Executive and Presiding Officers ('Ministerial Handbook').

Today, the Sunday Times reveals information, previously withheld from Parliament, on the grounds that the information was "classified". The information includes the fact that Lindiwe Sisulu:  

Spent a total of nearly R11 million travelling on Gulfstream jets between 2009 and 2012; and 

Spent an average of R214 466 travelling on Gulfstream jets between Cape Town and Pretoria return. 

The fact is that Lindiwe Sisulu was zooming up and down the country on a massively expensive Gulfstream jet when she could have - and should have - been using cheaper commercial flights such as South African Airways.

That Lindiwe Sisulu thinks of the scandal surrounding the millions of rands blown on travelling on Gulfstream jets as "something silly" suggests that she is out of touch with the reality in South Africa.

The catalyst for the bitter feud, between Lindiwe Sisulu and Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, reported in the Sunday Times, was a parliamentary question, submitted by myself on 23 August 2012, probing the use of Gulfstream jets.

The reply to the parliamentary question revealed that Lindiwe Sisulu had undertaken 103 flights and 69 ferry flights on Gulfstream jets. 

The reply was eventually withdrawn, on 20 November 2012, following a protest from Lindiwe Sisulu who claimed she had only undertaken 35 flights on Gulfstream jets.

Since then all my parliamentary questions trying to get to the bottom of how many flights Lindiwe Sisulu actually undertook on Gulfstream jets have been stonewalled in Parliament.  

This despite the intervention of the Leader of Government Business, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, and the Speaker of the National Assembly, Max Sisulu.

We have to get to the bottom of this matter. We need all the facts to be made public.

I will, therefore, write to the Auditor-General, Kimi Makwetu, requesting him to conduct an audit to determine:  

How many flights and ferry flights were actually undertaken on Gulfstream jets for Lindiwe Sisulu between 2009 and 2012; and

Whether the guidelines, set out for the use of chartered air services in the Handbook for Members of the Executive and Presiding Officers ('Ministerial Handbook'), and the relevant National Treasury regulations were followed when chartering the Gulfstream jets for Lindiwe Sisulu.

Statement issued by David Maynier MP, DA Shadow Minister of Defence & Military Veterans, March 16 2014

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