Minister of Defence, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, has been issued with a formal warning from President Cyril Ramaphosa after giving ANC members a ‘lift’ to Zimbabwe on a SAAF jet. The minister’s salary will also be docked as part of her punishment. It is unknown how much of her salary will be docked.
Starting from November, 1, Mapisa-Nqakula’s salary will be “sacrificed” to the coronavirus Solidarity Fund for the next three months, according to a statement released by the Presidency on Saturday night.
The flight in question took place on September, 8 when the Minister flew to Harare on official business. An ANC delegation that included Ace Magashule, Tony Yengeni and Nomvula Mokonyane tagged along, as they had a meeting with governing party Zanu PF.
Ramaphosa described Mapisa-Nqakula’s decision to use state resources to convey a political party delegation as “an error of judgement” not befitting of a Minister of Cabinet.
“[The President] found that the minister did not ‘act in the best interest of good governance’ as required by the Executive Members Code.
“[and] Failed to adhere to legal prescripts warranting care in the use of state resources [and] acted ‘in a way that is inconsistent with [her] position as required by the Code,” read the statement.
In the letter of reprimand sent to the minister, Ramaphosa said he appreciated that the ANC had committed to pay back the excess costs incurred.
Critics, however, are dissatisfied with the punishment and say the President is downplaying the misuse of state resources.
The DA’s Shadow Minister of Defence, Kobus Marais, felt the punishment did not match the severity of the offence.
“This reprimand does not illustrate how serious President Ramaphosa is about the Minister’s dereliction of duty, it illustrates how weak he is in holding members of his party and his Executive to account,” said Marais in a statement.
It is estimated that the ANC will have to pay approximately R260 000 for the flight, according to the DA.