Ramaphosa’s R1.6 million air-junket while soldiers struggle to get the basics

Issued by Kobus Marais MP – DA Shadow Minister of Defence
22 Aug 2022 in News

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Kobus Marais MP.

The DA calls on President Cyril Ramaphosa to apologise for wasting taxpayers’ money on chartering a 300-seater intercontinental passenger aircraft to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at a cost of at least R1.6 million.

This bad judgement comes a mere week after Defence Minister Thandi Modise wasted South African National Defence Force (SANDF) money on appeasing her Russian comrades in Moscow.

Four years ago, President Ramaphosa had a PR field day when pictures of him travelling economy class went viral. One wonders what happened to this “frugality”?

The R1.6 million trip was the result of SANDF failing to pay the subscription fees to the Jeppesen flight database, which renders the whole air force VIP fleet not airworthy.

It is outrageous that SANDF would waste money it does not have in this way. The subscription for the whole fleet to the Jeppesen database costs R300 000 per year. How has SANDF failed to make payment for months, yet it has money to fund this blunder. The DA calls on the Auditor-General of South Africa (AG) to investigate DoD’s finances and make recommendations on how to course correct and who to hold responsible for the wasteful expenditure. There is currently a total lack of accountability and consequences for anyone wasting money.

The DA has submitted parliamentary questions regarding the matter. While SANDF indicated in a statement that the cost of the flight was R1.6 million, it is unclear whether this includes costs for landing, parking and refueling. Serious questions regarding the lapse in the Jeppesen subscription and those responsible; the additional 41 passengers that were on the return diplomatic flight from Kinshasa; and the availability and serviceability of the 21 Squadron VIP fleet of aircraft were also asked.

The DoD and SANDF have continually failed to adhere to good governance and South Africa’s defences are on its knees as result. While the Defence Force crumbles and soldiers struggle to get access to the basic necessities for their jobs, money is being wasted on a top-heavy management structure, and projects of and visits to comrade countries that damage South Africa’s fiscus and our international reputation. It is time SANDF and DoD cleaned house, starting with Minister Modise who have proven herself no better than her wasteful predecessor.