The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to National Treasury to ascertain whether the Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, was consulted by the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula in terms of the Defence Act before she and the ANC went on a trip to Zimbabwe aboard a South African Air Force (SAAF) jet to meet with ZANU-PF.
We also sought to determine if Treasury was involved and approved Minister Mapisa-Nqakula's calculations of total costs invoiced to the ANC for the flight.
The Defence Act is clear, Section 80(3)(a)(i) states that, the Minister of Defence must first consult the Minister of Finance before allowing conveyance of any person who is not an officer or employee of the State on board a SAAF aircraft.
However, there is no reference in any of the two reports submitted by Minister Mapisa-Nqakula to President Cyril Ramaphosa of any consultation with the Finance Minister. If, as we suspect, Minister Mboweni was not consulted, then the use of the SAAF jet by the ANC delegation results in irregular, wasteful and unauthorised expenses.
The DA wants to know what steps Treasury will take against Minister Mapisa-Nqakula and the ANC's blatant and unauthorised abuse of State resources.
Additionally, as far as the costs are concerned, the DA wants to know if Treasury was consulted by Minister Mapisa-Nqakula to determine a reasonable amount the ANC must pay back for abusing State resources.
The DA is not convinced that the R105 545, 48 calculated by the Minister is sufficient. We have found this amount to be disproportionate as it excludes other expenses.
For an example:
The R86 000 per hour confirmed by the Minister of Defence to the President excludes the costs related to the landing rights and parking of the Falcon 900 for nearly 24 hours, the costs related to onboard food and drinks, as well as the costs related to the pilots and onboard staff.
We are of the view that the direct costs for this junket must include: R86 000 x 2.7 hours = R232 000 + onboard entertainment + landing rights + parking on the airport + costs related to the pilots and onboard staff.
In addition to this, the official passenger list indicated the Minister plus 6 members of the ANC's NEC were on board, which correlates with the 7 people she indicated in her letter to her Zimbabwean counterpart on 7 September 2020 when she requested a visit to Harare.
We are of the view that Minister Mapisa-Nqakula grossly under-calculated the total cost and we hope that the Minister of Finance will be able to provide us with a much clearer picture on how these determinations were made and whether he supports such calculations.
The ANC should pay back all the money for the flight, and not just a small percentage calculated by a Minister who has already proven that she would put her party before her country.
As the DA, we are committed to accountability and unlike President Cyril Ramaphosa, we will not accept a report that is riddled with discrepancies at face value.
So desperate is the President Ramaphosa and the ANC to hide the truth of this abuse, that they disregarded Parliament's programme to prevent Ramaphosa from accounting on #Jetgate.
The President's call for a Joint Sitting of Parliament on Thursday, is a last-minute attempt to avoid questions and accountability on this highly problematic trip.
President Ramaphosa cannot avoid accountability in a scandal he is very much part of. The truth must come out.