The Minister of Defence, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, still has much to answer for on the chartering of a Gupta-owned aircraft for the Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa and other ministers. Given the close relationship between the ANC and the Guptas, every step must be taken to ensure that there was no abuse of public money.
To this end, the DA will now also request that the Portfolio Committee on Defence launch a full inquiry into this matter. We will also be proceeding with the submission of a series of written parliamentary questions. We will now, in addition, also ask questions as to why:
The South African Air Force (SAAF) planes, normally reserved for transporting government officials, were not available; and
What the difference would have been between the cost of the leased plane and the cost if the SAAF had carried out the flight.
In the interests of ensuring transparency, and that no irregularities took place, this inquiry should be scheduled as soon as possible, and should summon both the Minister of Defence, and Deputy President Ramaphosa, to provide a full briefing to MPs. All the relevant documents should also be tabled.
The Minister claims that all the necessary procedures were followed and that because ExecuJet provided the plane, they are under no obligation to name owners. If the suppliers of aircraft were indeed thoroughly vetted, how is it that the DoD did not know that the plane belonged to the Gupta’s and therefore that the use would be entirely inappropriate?
Whether or not due process was followed remains to be seen. The DA will continue to use all avenues possible to get the facts on this issue and if any occurred, to make sure that those responsible are held to account.
Issued by Kobus Marais on behalf of DA