S. African president intervenes in probe of improper deployment of public resources

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa make a speech at the official funeral service of the later former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe on September 14, 2019 at National Sports Stadium in Harare. - South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa was jeered and whistled during his speech before he apologised for recent xenophobic attacks in his home country. At least 12 people have been killed this month in a surge in violence and mob attacks against foreign-owned businesses in and around Johannesburg, South Africa's largest city. (Photo by TONY KARUMBA / AFP) (Photo credit should read TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday intervened in a probe of alleged improper deployment of public resources by senior government officials.

This came after a high-ranking delegation of the ruling party African National Congress (ANC), which comprises Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule, flew to Harare, Zimbabwe in a state-owned jet at the taxpayers’ expense.

“In the interest of good governance and the prudent and ethical use of state assets,” Ramaphosa has directed Mapisa-Nqakula to submit a detailed report within 48 hours on the circumstances that led to the minister sharing the flight to Harare with the delegation, the Presidency said in a statement.

Earlier on Friday, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) called on Ramaphosa to make an urgent public statement on how the ruling party has illegally benefited from an aircraft of the state he leads.

The trip is “a flagrant blurring of state and party lines and abuse of state machinery,” amounting to theft from the people by the ANC, said the DA.

Ramaphosa said in the statement that he noted the public discussion that has been generated around the flight to Harare taken by Mapisa-Nqakula and other senior officials.

Mapisa-Nqakula allegedly had the permission of Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to travel to Zimbabwe to meet her counterpart to discuss defence-related matters in the region following a recent Southern African Development Community summit.

The president “welcomed the interest shown by South Africans in this matter as an indication of the nation’s vigilance against allegations of improper deployment of public resources,” said the statement.