Since Ramaphosa became President, his high-flying ministers and deputies have gallivanted overseas nearly 1 000 times

Kindly find attached an English soundbite by Dr Leon Schreiber MP.

Since Cyril Ramaphosa became President in February 2018, members of his cabinet as well as their deputies have used taxpayer money to pay for no fewer than 949 overseas trips. Given that Ramaphosa has now been in office for 912 days, this means that his government has forced taxpayers to pay for ministers and deputies to gallivant overseas at a rate of more than one trip every single day.

At a time when millions of South Africans are suffering due to the ANC lockdown crisis, it is absolutely scandalous that the President has turned his office into a glorified travel agency for ANC cadres, courtesy of long-suffering South African taxpayers.

These shocking figures were today revealed in Ramaphosa’s reply to a parliamentary question posed by the DA, which showed that, during 2018/2019, his ministers traveled abroad 354 times, while their deputies traveled in style 204 times. In 2019/2020, ministers again milked taxpayers for 244 trips abroad, and deputies undertook another 147 trips.

The information also reveals that Ramaphosa’s leading globetrotter is the Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, who undertook no less than 38 overseas jaunts at taxpayer expense. She is closely followed by Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who flew on taxpayer dime 37 times. Another minister known for her appetite for the finer things in life is Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, who used taxpayer money to travel abroad 26 times – including to a city in Switzerland called Geneva.

Then there are the supposedly ardent communists, Rob Davies (22) and Ebrahim Patel (21), who visited mostly wealthy shopping meccas on their overseas spending sprees. Other high-flyers include Naledi Pandor (31 trips), Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane (24 trips), Aaron Motsoaledi (23 trips), Nathi Mthethwa (22 trips), Tito Mboweni (22 trips), Pravin Gordhan (14 trips), Bheki Cele (13 trips), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (12 trips), and Zweli Mkhize (12 trips).

The most popular destination for ANC cadres were the bright lights of the United States, which they visited 82 times. Next on the cadre bucket list was China (64 visits), Ethiopia (57 trips), and Switzerland (49 excursions). Some cadres were also lucky enough that their “official business” took them to luxury destinations like the Seychelles and Mauritius five times apiece.

What is even more disgusting about the Ramaphosa government’s contempt for citizens is that the vast majority of these flights were likely in first or business class. According to the new Ministerial Handbook that Ramaphosa’s government published under pressure from the DA in November 2019, ministers and their deputies are only limited to economy class flights if the trip is shorter than two hours.

There is also no way for Ramaphosa to use his usual trick by pretending that he is “shocked” to learn of such wastage. The President is personally responsible for these nearly 1 000 luxury trips as, according to the Ministerial Handbook, he has to approve written requests by ministers and deputies to travel abroad.

Now that we have exposed this information, the DA will explore every possible avenue to stop this grotesque waste of public funds. In addition to posing further questions to Ramaphosa to establish how much these overseas jaunts cost the people of South Africa, we will also be proposing fresh amendments to the obscenely wasteful Ministerial Handbook.

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