Ramaphosa and Mashatile are using the South African Air Force as their personal taxi service

Issued by Kobus Marais MP – DA Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans
22 Jan 2024 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Kobus Marais MP

The DA condemns the continued exploitation of the ambiguity between the Ministerial Handbook and the Presidential Handbook by President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Deputy, Paul Mashatile – whereby they regularly commandeer South African Air Force (SAAF) aircraft to attend ANC party political events. Their recent infraction relates to the 10 trips that they undertook in the lead up to the ANC’s January 8 statement in Mbombela, Mpumalanga.

The attached flight history shows flights undertaken in the SAAF’s VIP Falcon F50 aircraft by Ramaphosa, Mashatile and their guests to attend a series of political meetings in Mpumalanga before the ANC’s main event at Mbombela stadium. This provides clear evidence that the ambiguity in the Presidential Handbook was not only being abused but was now being deliberately exploited to turn the SAAF into a taxi service for ANC political party purposes.

As listed on the attached flight schedule, Ramaphosa and Mashatile undertook 1 flight between CTIA and Kruger International on the 5th of January 2024 and a further 9 flights between Kruger International and AFB Waterkloof in Pretoria, all under the call sign LMG2. Of serious concern is that they were seemingly accompanied by ANC political party officials and guests with no clear link to their official work as President and Deputy President, in clear violation of the spirit of the Presidential handbook.

The handbook makes no provision for the use of the SAAF for the transportation of members of the executive and political party functionaries for party political party purposes. Ramaphosa and Mashatile’s actions are not only irresponsible and inappropriate, but also show unbridled abuse of state resources despite:

  • the horrendous state of the SANDF, especially the SAAF, whose budgets continue to deteriorate rapidly affecting the defence force’s mission preparedness;
  • the dilapidated state of the SAAF’s prime mission equipment, with more than 85% of air platforms grounded; and
  • clear evidence that there is no money to maintain, provide essential upgrades and ensure that our pilots and aircrew are compliant with minimum currencies/competency levels of flying.

All the costs of flying and entertaining the President, Deputy President and all their guests with the 21 Squadron VIP jets are paid from the already depleted SAAF budget. The SAAF is essentially being deprived of funding to comply with section 200(2) of the Constitution which requires the SANDF to protect the territorial integrity of South Africa and its citizens. The ANC and their cadres are not only plundering the rest of government but it seems they most certainly are doing everything to bring the SANDF, more specifically in this case, the SAAF, to its knees.

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