Democratic Alliance (Cape Town)

South Africa: Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe's Holiday in the Seychelles Must Be Investigated By the Public Protector

press release

I will request the Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, to investigate the use of public funds by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on his recent holiday in the Seychelles.

Deputy President Motlanthe reportedly used public funds to pay for part of his holiday in the Seychelles between 23 December 2012 and 04 January 2013.

The facts are as follows:

A Falcon 900, operated by the SAAF's Squadron 21 (VIP Squadron), was used to transport Deputy President Motlanthe, together with a number of passengers, from AFB Waterkloof (South Africa) to Mahe Island International Airport (Seychelles) on 23 December 2012.

A Cessna Caravan, chartered by the defence department, was used to transport Deputy President Motlanthe, together with a number of passengers, from Mahe Island International Airport (Seychelles) to Desroches Island (Seychelles) on 23 December 2012.

Deputy President Motlanthe, together with a number of passengers, stayed at Desroches Island Resort, which is advertised as one of "Forbes Top Ten Remote Destinations in the World".

A Cessna Caravan, chartered by the defence department, was used to transport Deputy President Motlanthe, together with a number of passengers, from Desroches Island (Seychelles) to Mahe Island International Airport (Seychelles) on 04 January 2013.

A Falcon 900, operated by the SAAF's Squadron 21 (VIP Squadron), was used to transport Deputy President Motlanthe, together with a number of passengers, from to Mahe Island International Airport (Seychelles) to AFB Waterkloof (South Africa) on 04 January 2013.

The Falcon 900, together with the aircrew, is believed to have remained in the Seychelles between 23 December 2012 and 04 January 2013.

However, we do not have all the facts.

We do know the total cost of chartering the Cessna Caravan was R83 000.00. We do not know the total cost of operating the Falcon 900. However, the total cost of operating the Falcon 900 and chartering the Cessna Caravan could have been as much as R1 million.

The guidelines for the use of military aircraft or chartering aircraft are set out in the in the Handbook for Members of the Executive and Presiding Officers ("Ministerial Handbook") which are clear: ministers and deputy ministers may only use military aircraft or chartered aircraft for official purposes.

However, these guidelines do not apply to the President or the Deputy President. The guidelines that do apply to the President and Deputy President are set out in a "Presidential Handbook", which is, bizarrely, a secret document that may not be made public.

We cannot be sure therefore that Deputy President Motlanthe did not break the secret rules, set out in the "Presidential Handbook", when public funds were used to pay for part of his holiday in the Seychelles.

I will therefore be:

writing to the Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, to request an investigation into whether there was a breach of any policy, law or regulation in Deputy President Motlanthe using public funds to pay for part of his holiday in the Seychelles;

submitting a request, in terms of the Promotion of Accesss to Information Act (No. 2 of 200), for a copy of the secret "Presidential Handbook"; and

submitting parliamentary questions probing public spending on President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe's holidays since 2009.

In the end, whatever rules apply, it is simply wrong for Deputy President Motlanthe to have used public funds to pay for part of his vacation in the Seychelles, when so many people in our country are living in poverty.

David Maynier, Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans

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