- The suspension was slammed on Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula for allowing ANC officials to fly with her in an air force plane to Zimbabwe
- The president dismissed the minister’s excuse that it was an official trip as an “error in judgement”
- Ramaphosa had earlier this year suspended the communications minister for violating COVID-19 lockdown regulation
South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has suspended the salary of Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula for three months for allowing ruling party officials to fly with her in an air force plane to Zimbabwe on September 9.
Mapisa-Nqakula, who was accused of abusing state resources for party political affairs, had maintained that it was an official mission and she simply gave a lift to the other passengers.
But President Ramaphosa called it an “error in judgment”.
Ms Mapisa-Nqakula had traveled to Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, for a meeting scheduled to discuss regional issues while the delegation of South Africa’s ruling party – the African National Congress (ANC) – was traveling there for crisis talks with the ruling Zimbabwean party, Zanu-PF, with the aim of helping to fight against the country’s political and economic problems.
Mr Ramaphosa, who on coming to power pledged to clean up the ANC’s reputation after a decade of corruption scandals, said that by giving ANC delegates a lift on the plane, she had not acted “in the best interest of good governance”.
“The President has further sanctioned the Minister by imposing a salary sacrifice on the Minister’s salary for three months, starting from 1 November 2020. Her salary for the three months should be paid into the Solidarity Fund which was established to support the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic,” a statement by the presidency read.
“The President further directed the Minister to make sure that the ANC reimburses the state for the costs of the flight to Harare and to report to him once that has been done.”
South Africa’s leading opposition party, the Democratic Alliance Party, criticised the minister’s action and described the president’s pay cut punishment as a slap on the wrist.
“The president has effectively downplayed this abuse of state resources by saying it was an error of judgement. He himself admitted that the minister did not act in the best interests of good governance and that she acted in a way which is inconsistent with her position,” said the DA’s Kobus Marais.
The opposition party is calling for the minister’s sack.
Newsplus reported earlier this year President Ramaphosa’s suspension of Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams for violating COVID-19 lockdown regulations by visiting and dining with former deputy minister Mduduzi Manana at his Johannesburg home.
NP/Tony Ekata/Agency reports