The DA has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to institute an urgent Special Investigating Unit (SIU) investigation into allegations that the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, has wasted millions of taxpayers’ money on chartered flights and luxury accommodation. The DA also calls for the minister to be suspended without compensation pending the outcome of this investigation.
A dossier of evidence has been submitted to the Joint Standing Committee on Defence detailing at least five instances where “doubt can be cast over the Minister’s actions”, says Kobus Marais, DA Shadow Minister of Defence.
Further evidence has been previously submitted alleging that Minister Mapisa-Nqakula “extorted” more than R5 million from a South African National Defence Force (SANDF) service provider.
The Sunday Independent has reported that the Minister allegedly spent:
- R4 million on a chartered flight from the Waterkloof Airforce Base in Pretoria to Cairo in Egypt in April 2019;
- R400 000 on a five-day stay in the Marriott Essex House, a luxury hotel overlooking Central Park in New York, USA, in September 2019;
- R350 000 in November 2019 for a six-day stay at the Hotel Du Collectionneur Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, for her and three departmental attachés. And an Avis transport bill of nearly R150 000; and
- R2.5 million to charter an aircraft to Angola, Guinea, Ghana and Togo, which bizarrely included a flight from Lanseria International Airport to Cape Town International Airport and one from Waterkloof Airport Base to Lanseria International Airport, which was in driving distance.
“How long will President Ramaphosa allow his close connection with Charles Nqakula, the husband of the Defence Minister and one of his senior advisors, to influence his dismissal of mounting evidence of malfeasance against her?” asks Marais.
“Minister Mapisa-Nqakula is clearly not suited for her post. Whether its corruption, incompetence or wilful ignorance, she has proven time and again that she cannot handle her duties as Minister, especially not in a Department as important as Defence. She is frivolous with a dwindling defence budget and cannot be trusted with the safety and security of the country.”
Marais said rumours of an imminent cabinet reshuffle abound, and this would be the perfect opportunity for the President to “get rid of this dead weight Minister once and for all”.