‘Ramaphosa knew about military jet’

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THE battle between South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa and Defence minister Nosiviwe MapisaNqakula is heating up.
Mapisa-Nqakula is said to be “extremely angered” by the disciplinary action taken against her by Ramaphosa after the ANC’s infamous trip to Zimbabwe on a military jet.

The Star has reliably learnt that Ramaphosa was involved in the preliminary meetings leading up to the trip. The Star has also learnt that Zanu PF party had declined ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe’s attendance at the meeting because it meant that the party would also have to be represented by the chairperson and secretary-general.

An agreement was reached that the ANC delegation would be led by ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.
Ramaphosa is said to have been duly informed about the ANC delegation travelling with MapisaNqakula.

The Star has also learnt that the trip was originally set to be from September 8 to 10, but the meetings only sat for one day after Zanu PF contested that the ANC delegation meet them and the Zimbabwean
opposition on the same day.

Interestingly, while the ministerial handbook says that the president must approve all trips of this fashion 24 days before, Ramaphosa approved the trip by telephone a day before the delegation left.

According to sources at the department of Defence and Military Veterans, Mapisa-Nqakula is livid that Ramaphosa threw her under the bus when the decision backfired.

Weighing in on the controversy, Kobus Marais, the DA’s spokesperson on defence, told The Star that
they would be pushing for accountability against Ramaphosa as he seems to be misleading the nation on the matter. He stressed that the president’s response seemed more and more likely that he was
aware of the trip.

“This happened under his watch, and thus (he is) the accountable person in the last instance. There seems to be evidence that he was part of the ANC’s discussions and decision to pay a visit to Zanu PF,” Marais said.

Furthermore, he alleged that Ramaphosa’s decision to approve the trip in writing was an act of a man who has been caught with his pants down.

“He seems to have been undermined to such and that even the intelligence agencies didn’t warn him. He allowed the MoD to deviate from the early application rule for foreign visits without punishment.

His approval on September 10 seems retrospective, maybe because they were caught red-handed. Nowhere in the approval does it refer to any verbal approval or even a note to that effect. In this day and age, ample secured options are available to him to confirm such approval.

The time lines of events clearly give the impression that the minister’s visit was arranged at the last minute to offer the flight to the ANC officials,” he said. — The Star

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