Democratic Alliance (Cape Town)

11 November 2012

South Africa: Lindiwe Sisulu Is Covering Up the Truth About Her Abuse of VIP Flights Operated By the SAAF

Photo: GCIS
Lindiwe Sisulu, above, who is now Public Administration Minister, says parliament has been mislead by her predecessor Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula over the use of executive jet flights she had taken during her tenure.

press release

The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, must stand firm against the bullying tactics being used by the Minister of Public Service and Administration, Lindiwe Sisulu, and make public all the relevant information about the minister's use and abuse of VIP aircraft operated by the South African Air Force (SAAF).

The former minister is desperately trying to minimize the political fallout from the fact that she wasted millions of rands zooming around the country on privately owned ultra-luxury Gulfstream executive jets operated by the South African Air Force.

The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, revealed in a reply to a parliamentary question from myself that between 2009 and 2012:

• 203 flights were undertaken for the former minister on ultra-luxury Gulfstream executive jets; and

• of the 203 flights undertaken, 69 flights were "ferry flights", where the minister was not on board the aircraft.

The Gulfstream executive jets were privately owned and operated by the South African Air Force.

The costs involved were astronomical: the former minister burned through more than R200 000 for each flight between Pretoria-Cape Town-Pretoria on her privately owned ultra-luxury Gulfstream jet.

The former minister is in full damage control mode trying to minimize the political fallout from her staggering abuse of public funds by variously suggesting:

• she was not responsible for the decision to use the privately owned ultra-luxury Gulfstream executive jets;

• she was not aware of the astronomical costs involved in operating the privately owned ultra-luxury Gulfstream executive jets; and

• she is now claiming that the information provided in the reply to the parliamentary question is incorrect and misleading and that she only undertook 35 official trips on aircraft hired by the South African Air Force.

The minister is clearly trying to use what amounts to a political smoke grenade to obscure the truth.

The former minister's claims that she only undertook "35 official trips" on aircraft operated by the South African Reserve Force Squadron needs to be looked at carefully.

The question that must be asked is: how many actual flights were undertaken for each of the "35 official trips" on aircraft operated by the South African Reserve Force Squadron?

A reply to a previous parliamentary question - provided by the former minister herself contradicts her own statement because it reveals that between 2009 and 2012 the former minister undertook 79 flights on aircraft operated by the South African Air Force Reserve Squadron.

This raises a serious question about the minister claim that she only undertook "35 official trips" on aircraft operated by the South African Reserve Force Squadron.

Her distinction between "flights" and "trips" appears to be semantic slight-of-hand designed to obscure the truth.

We cannot allow the former minister to be let off the hook: the fact that she was a frequent military flyer is clearly evidenced by her own replies to parliamentary questions six months ago which reveal she undertook 268 flights between 2009 and 2012 at the cost of R40 581 878.12 on aircraft operated by the South African Air Force.

I will, therefore, be writing to the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula, requesting that she make public all the relevant information on flights undertaken by the former minster on aircraft operated by the South African Air Force between 2009 and 2012.

What we need is the truth about the former minister's use and abuse of "VIP aircraft" operated by the South African Air Force.

The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, must stand firm against the bullying tactics being used by the Minister of Public Service and Administration, Lindiwe Sisulu, and make public all the relevant information about the minister's use and abuse of VIP aircraft operated by the South African Air Force (SAAF).

The former minister is desperately trying to minimize the political fallout from the fact that she wasted millions of rands zooming around the country on privately owned ultra-luxury Gulfstream executive jets operated by the South African Air Force.

The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, revealed in a reply to a parliamentary question from myself that between 2009 and 2012:

• 203 flights were undertaken for the former minister on ultra-luxury Gulfstream executive jets; and

• of the 203 flights undertaken, 69 flights were "ferry flights", where the minister was not on board the aircraft.

The Gulfstream executive jets were privately owned and operated by the South African Air Force.

The costs involved were astronomical: the former minister burned through more than R200 000 for each flight between Pretoria-Cape Town-Pretoria on her privately owned ultra-luxury Gulfstream jet.

The former minister is in full damage control mode trying to minimize the political fallout from her staggering abuse of public funds by variously suggesting:

• she was not responsible for the decision to use the privately owned ultra-luxury Gulfstream executive jets;

• she was not aware of the astronomical costs involved in operating the privately owned ultra-luxury Gulfstream executive jets; and

• she is now claiming that the information provided in the reply to the parliamentary question is incorrect and misleading and that she only undertook 35 official trips on aircraft hired by the South African Air Force.

The minister is clearly trying to use what amounts to a political smoke grenade to obscure the truth.

The former minister's claims that she only undertook "35 official trips" on aircraft operated by the South African Reserve Force Squadron needs to be looked at carefully.

The question that must be asked is: how many actual flights were undertaken for each of the "35 official trips" on aircraft operated by the South African Reserve Force Squadron?

A reply to a previous parliamentary question - provided by the former minister herself contradicts her own statement because it reveals that between 2009 and 2012 the former minister undertook 79 flights on aircraft operated by the South African Air Force Reserve Squadron.

This raises a serious question about the minister claim that she only undertook "35 official trips" on aircraft operated by the South African Reserve Force Squadron.

Her distinction between "flights" and "trips" appears to be semantic slight-of-hand designed to obscure the truth.

We cannot allow the former minister to be let off the hook: the fact that she was a frequent military flyer is clearly evidenced by her own replies to parliamentary questions six months ago which reveal she undertook 268 flights between 2009 and 2012 at the cost of R40 581 878.12 on aircraft operated by the South African Air Force.

I will, therefore, be writing to the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula, requesting that she make public all the relevant information on flights undertaken by the former minster on aircraft operated by the South African Air Force between 2009 and 2012.

What we need is the truth about the former minister's use and abuse of "VIP aircraft" operated by the South African Air Force.

David Maynier, Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans

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