AfriForum launched an investigation today into the alleged misappropriation of Air Force assets by high-level members of the ANC. The civil rights organisation also indicated that it would take legal steps if it came to light that state assets were used by the ANC unlawfully.
This follows reports that, among others, Ace Magashule (Secretary General of the ANC), Gwede Mantashe (Chairperson of the ANC), Lindiwe Zulu (Minister of Social Development) and Nosivwe Mapisa-Ngakula (Minister of Defence and Military Veterans), as well as five members of the ANC’s National Executive Committee used a South African Air Force airplane to fly to Harare for discussions with Zanu PF.
AfriForum’s legal representatives also wrote to Dr Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperative Government, as well as to Mapisa-Ngakula (who was part of the visit), requesting them to explain whether the Air Force plane had been used lawfully. The civil rights organisation also submitted a complaint to the Public Protector.
According to Monique Taute, Head of AfriForum’s Anti-Corruption Unit, Section 80(3) of the Defence Act 42 of 2002 determines that Defence Force assets may only be used under exceptional circumstances other than protection of the country. These circumstances must adhere to certain requirements. “First, the use thereof must be in the public’s interest. Second, the Minister of Defence must approve the use of the assets in consultation with the Minister of Finance.”
With its investigation, AfriForum wants to ascertain whether the correct channels were followed and whether the use of state assets had been authorised. “We cannot allow members of the ruling elite to misappropriate state assets as if it is their own property. We will take the matter further if it seems that politicians violated legislation,” Taute concludes.