Pay cut or not: DA to ‘grill’ Mapisa-Nqakula on Zim flight

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Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

Darren Stewart, Gallo Images

  • The DA will question Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula when she appears before the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans.
  • The committee chairperson indicated he would call Mapisa-Nqakula to a meeting about the controversial flight to Zimbabwe.
  • The ANC study group on defence earlier resolved to call Mapisa-Nqakula to such a meeting.

The DA is getting ready to grill Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula when she appears before the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans to account for the controversial air force flight to Zimbabwe with high-ranking ANC comrades on board.

DA MP and spokesperson on defence Kobus Marais welcomed the decision of the committee’s chairperson Cyril Xaba to call Mapisa-Nqakula to a meeting on the matter.

“The DA requested that the minister be summoned to appear before the committee after she wilfully oversaw the ANC’s abuse of an air force jet to visit Zimbabwe,” Marais said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The DA is of the view that Parliament should play its oversight role on this matter in order to ensure accountability and transparency.”

READ | Ministerial Handbook: Why Ramaphosa decided to reprimand Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

Two weeks ago, the ANC study group on defence – comprising the ANC MPs serving on the committee – were briefed by Mapisa-Nqakula on the trip.

At that meeting, the study group resolved that Mapisa-Nqakula should be called to brief the committee.

Marais said his party will not allow the minister’s appearance before the committee to “turn into an exercise to exonerate her”.

“Unlike President Cyril Ramaphosa’s slap on the wrist, the minister should expect a grilling from the DA,” Marais said.

READ HERE | ANC’s Zim junket: Fire Mapisa-Nqakula, opposition parties demand

In a late night statement on Saturday, the Presidency announced that Ramaphosa had issued Mapisa-Nqakula with a formal reprimand.

Furthermore, he sanctioned her by docking her salary for three months and directed her to ensure that the ANC reimburses the state for the costs of the flight and to report to him once this has been done.

Amid the public outcry after the news broke that senior ANC officials Ace Magashule, Tony Yengeni and Dakota Lekgoete were given a “lift” to Zimbabwe earlier this month along with Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, Ramaphosa instructed Mapisa-Nqakula to provide him with a report on the matter.

ALSO READ | Ramaphosa reprimands Mapisa-Nqakula, docks three months’ salary over ANC Zim junket

After studying this report, Ramaphosa found that Mapisa-Nqakula made an “error in judgment”, according to the Presidency’s statement.

Marais said while Mapisa-Nqakula’s appearance before Parliament is a step in the right direction, Ramaphosa should ultimately fire her.

“Because, in his own words, she ‘failed to adhere to legal prescripts warranting care in use of [State] resources’ and ‘acted in a way that is inconsistent with [her] position’,” read Marais’ statement.

The DA said it would question Mapisa-Nqakula on the following:

  • Why she allowed the ANC delegation to abuse an air force jet to travel to Zimbabwe for party political discussions and by virtue ignoring the principle of the separation of powers;
  • Whether the delegation received permission from Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to travel abroad in light of the Level 2 lockdown regulations. Supporting documents should be supplied;
  • Her report into Jetgate should be made available; and
  • Progress in terms of the ANC’s repayment, including calculations from independent aviation experts.

Parliament will reconvene next week after a recess. As such, the meeting has not yet been scheduled on the programme for committee meetings.

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