The president has suspended the minister’s salary for three months instead allocating the money to the solidarity fund to support the country’s response to the pandemic.
Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. Picture: GCIS.
JOHANNESBURG – There are increasing calls for Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to be sacked, with political parties and civil organisations accusing President Cyril Ramaphosa of downplaying blatant abuse of state resources.
Ramaphosa issued details of the minister’s sanction over the weekend after it emerged that she allowed a senior African National Congress (ANC) delegation to catch a lift on a South African National Defence Force jet to Zimbabwe earlier this month.
The president has suspended the minister’s salary for three months, instead allocating the money to the Solidarity Fund to support the country’s response to the pandemic.
The ANC will also have to reimburse the state for the costs of the flight.
Despite the president’s intervention, critics have labelled the penalty as a slap on the wrist.
Following the damning findings against Mapisa-Nqakula, the Democratic Alliance (DA)’s Kobus Marais said that the punishment did not fit the offence.
Marais said that the president had illustrated weak leadership in holding members of his party and his executive to account.
“These are damning findings against the minister and yet, she only gets a slap on the wrist. We simply cannot allow the minister to get away scot-free. The DA views these transgressions as a gross violation of her oath of office. The president has got no other options but to relieve her of her duties immediately.”
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse’s Wayne Duvenage also weighed in on the matter.
“To slap her with a three months salary penalty and rebuke her is not enough. She should be removed from her position. It’s time for a Cabinet reshuffle and we believe she should not be allowed to sit in that position.”
Meanwhile, the Freedom Front Plus, which filed a complaint with the Public Protector, said that the penalty, however inadequate, served as an admission by the president that the minister’s conduct was indeed unacceptable.