South African defence minister’s pay docked overuse of air force plane

South African defence minister's pay docked overuse of air force plane

South Africa’s president has docked three months of the defense minister’s pay after she allowed governing party officials to fly on an air force plane to Zimbabwe with her on 9 September.

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was accused of misusing state resources for party political business.

The defence force had argued she was on official business and had simply given the other passengers a lift.

But President Cyril Ramaphosa called it an “error of judgment”.

Ms Mapisa-Nqakula had been travelling to Zimbabwe’s capital Harare for a scheduled meeting to discuss regional issues.

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The delegation from South Africa’s governing party – the African National Congress (ANC) – was meanwhile going there for crisis talks with Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party aimed at helping tackle the country’s political and economic woes.

But opposition politicians were extremely critical of the fact that she let the ANC delegation hitch a lift with her.

Mr Ramaphosa, who is coming to power had pledged to clean up the ANC’s reputation after a decade of corruption scandals, said that by giving the ANC delegates a lift on the plane, she had not acted “in the best interest of good governance”.

As a result, he said he had decided to dock Ms Mapisa-Nqakula’s pay, with the money going to a fund to help fight coronavirus.

In response, the opposition Democratic Alliance party said Mr Ramaphosa had not gone far enough, characterising the punishment as a slap on the wrist.

The issue could be discussed further in parliament amid some calls for her to be sacked.



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