The Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Wednesday it would bring a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application to force government to publicly disclose the cost of a chartered flight that President Cyril Ramaphosa and an entourage took to the Rugby World Cup (RWC) final in Japan last year.
This follows the refusal by the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to answer the question posed by the DA, citing security reasons.
DA Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Kobus Marais said the Minister’s response confirmed that a chartered aircraft was used, and reveals that national government does not want South Africans to know how much they spent on it.
He went on to state that there were individuals on board the aircraft whose presence at the RWC was of questionable necessity, singling out the President’s parliamentary adviser Dr Gerhard Koornhof.
“The actions of government in this regard, and the response by the Minister, demonstrate a callous lack of fiscal responsibility and complete disregard for openness and transparency. This is unacceptable in light of the fact that our national security budget continues to be cut, year after year. A far more ethical choice would have been for President Ramaphosa to have used a commercial airline with his personal security team on board with him,” said Marais.
He said it was concerning that Ramaphosa’s government continued to display the same “disregard for transparency” as government did under former President Jacob Zuma.
“This is why the DA will now bring a PAIA application to force government to disclose the information, which has no security implications and, therefore, should not be confidential,” explained Marais.
He said the DA would continue to protect the rights of South Africans by revealing where public money was spent, and by revealing exactly who benefited from taxpayers' wallets.