The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Wednesday said it was laying criminal charges against the African National Congress (ANC) after senior party members used a state jet to travel to Zimbabwe for a meeting with that country’s ZANU-PF party.
DA member of parliament, Kobus Marais said the governing party had already admitted guilt in this regard, as well as to flouting Covid-19 lockdown regulations.
“Just like ordinary South Africans who now bear the burden of potential criminal records for breaking lockdown regulations, the ten ANC delegates who undertook this illegal trip in an [SA] Air Force jet, must face the legal consequences.
They admitted to a crime and must now face criminal charges,” said Marais.
“Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula made it clear that he did not grant the delegation permission for the trip, as is required by level 2 lockdown regulations and referred all questions about it to Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. There is also doubt that the Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni, granted his support in terms of the 2002 Defence Act section 80(3)(a).”
Marais said social development minister, Lindiwe Zulu and Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who are part of South Africa’s national coronavirus command council, were instrumental in instituting many of the lockdown regulations, “and should have known better than anyone that what the delegates were doing was wrong”.
He said that Zulu, in her capacity as head of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) sub-committee on international relations, along with the other delegates who travelled to Zimbabwe - ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, NEC members Nomvula Mokonyane, Tony Yengeni, Mapisa-Nqakula, the ANC's head of economic transformation Enoch Godongwana, ANC spokesperson Dakota Legoete and ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe - must now face the consequences in law.
“The ANC’s admission of guilt and promise to pay back the money should not deter President Cyril Ramaphosa to release the report from Minister Mapisa-Nqakula. Parliament and the nation have the right to scrutinize that report. It certainly raises suspicion that the ANC made such a dramatic U-turn on the matter after they defended the delegation’s use of the jet tooth-and-nail last week,” said Marais.
He said that unless the report into the incident was released, the DA would conclude that it contained “something so explosive that the ANC hopes to bury it with platitudes and promises of repayment”.